The Mysterious Disappearance of Glenn & Bessie Hyde
In April of 1928 Bessie Haley and Glen Hyde were married. They were both young and adventurous spirits who thought the best honeymoon they could have would be to attempt running the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. If successful, Bessie would have been the first woman to have accomplished this rare feat at that time. The newlyweds set out on their ill-fated excursion in October of that same year.
Although Glen had some experience with riding rapids on the Snake River in Idaho, Bessie was a novice. Glen had built his own boat—a twenty foot sweep scow made out of wood. It carried the two newlyweds, all of their supplies for the journey, but no life jackets.
Glen’s goal was to set a new speed record for rafting the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River is a challenge even in the modern inflatable boats that are used today. However, using a wooden boat that was almost constantly being battered by rocks through the many rapids areas of the river would have been nearly impossible. Glen was
adamant about making the trip, so Bessie had little choice but to join him.
In mid November they hiked away from their boat and river up BrightAngelTrail to get more provisions. Emery Kolb was a photographer who owned a home on the canyon rim near the trail head. He took a photograph of the
newlyweds (the one at the beginning of this article) before they returned with their supplies to the river. It is believed that a gentleman named Adolph Sutro traveled back into the canyon with the couple, and even rode a short distance with them in their boat. He is reportedly the last person the see them. He left them at mile 95 of their journey on November 18, 1928.
When the Hydes did not return to Idaho by December their families became worried, so they reported them as missing to the authorities.
A massive search was undertaken in mid December. One of the search planes spotted their scow adrift on mile 227 of the river.
When searchers found the boat it looked in perfect condition and fully in tact, with no water inside the boat. The Hyde’s supplies were still strapped in and undisturbed. There was also a camera found in the boat. When the film was developed the authorities found photographs that had been taken near mile 165, which they concluded would have been around November 17th. Other evidence left on the boat indicated that the Hydes were still aboard it as far as mile 225. No other indication as to where the Hydes were or how they disappeared was ever found. They seemed to have vanished into thin air. It was conjectured that the couple most likely fell or were swept out of the boat while traversing the heavy rapid areas near mile 232 of the river.
There have been other speculations, as well. In 1971 a woman aboard a commercial river trip claimed to be Bessie Hyde. She told the other passengers that she killed her selfish husband and then threw him overboard. As you can see from the photo, Bessie did not look strong enough to be able to pull off such a feat. In 1976 a skeleton was found near the rim of the Grand Canyon. Many thought it might have been the remains of Glen Hyde, but that was never proven.
After Georgie White, a famous river runner, died in 1992, articles were found in her home that suggested she might have been Bessie Hyde. However, if she were Bessie she would have married Glen at the age of 17, and since he was her second husband, that seems unlikely.
What really happened to the Hydes remains a mystery not likely be to solved.