GLEN AND BESSIE HYDE Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Name: Glen and Bessie Hyde                                                                 
Glen and Bessie Hyde were newlyweds who disappeared while attempting to run the             
rapids of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, Arizona in 1928. Had they               
succeeded, Bessie would have been the first woman in history to do so.                     
Glen Hyde, born 1898 was a farmer from Twin Falls, Idaho; Bessie was a                     
divorcee originally from Parkersburg, West Virginia. They met in 1927 on a                 
passenger ship traveling to Los Angeles, California, and married April 12, 1928,           
the day after Bessie's divorce from her first husband was finalized.                       
Glen Hyde had some experience with river rafting, having traveled the Salmon and           
Snake Rivers in Idaho with "Cap" Guleke, an experienced river runner, in 1926.             
Bessie was more of a novice. In 1928, Hyde built his own boat, a twenty foot               
wooden sweep scow, the type used by river runners of that time in Idaho. The               
couple set off down the canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers in October 1928,           
as a honeymoon adventure trip. Glen wanted to set a new speed record for                   
traveling through the Grand Canyon, while also putting Bessie in the record                 
books as first woman to run the canyon.                                                     
They were last seen in November 1928, when they hiked Bright Angel Trail out of             
the canyon to resupply. They approached photographer Emery Kolb at his studio               
and home on the canyon rim, where they were photographed before returning down             
into the canyon. Some historians note that Adolph G. Sutro traveled back into               
the canyon with the Hydes, taking photographs and even riding a short distance             
with them in the scow. Sutro was the last person to see them,                               
on November 18, 1928, as they launched back into the river at approximately                 
river mile 95.                                                                             
A search was launched when the Hydes did not return to Idaho by December. In mid-December, 
a search plane spotted their scow adrift around river mile 237; it was upright             
and fully intact, with the supplies still strapped in. A camera recovered from             
the boat revealed the final photo to have been taken near river mile 165,                   
probably on or about November 27. There is some evidence to indicate the Hydes             
made it as far as river mile 225, where it is believed they made camp. No other             
trace of the Hydes has ever been found. It is thought to be most likely that               
they fell or were swept out of the boat in heavy rapids near river mile 232.               
The romance of the story coupled with the lack of any conclusive evidence as to             
the fate of the Hydes, has led to a number of legends and rumors. An elderly               
woman on a commercial Grand Canyon rafting trip in 1971 announced to other                 
rafters that she was Bessie Hyde, and that she had stabbed her abusive husband             
to death and escaped the canyon on her own. The woman later recanted this story.           
There was some speculation after the death of famed rafter Georgie Clark in May             
1992 that she was really Bessie Hyde, due to some documents and a pistol found             
in her effects, but no conclusive evidence for such a link was ever found, not             
to mention that Clark and Bessie do not look alike in photos.                               
Skeletal remains found on the canyon rim in 1976 with a bullet inside the skull             
were later proven not to be those of Glen Hyde. Suspicion had turned to                     
photographer Emery Kolb, the last person to see the couple, because the remains             
were discovered on his property. However, a later forensic investigation                   
conducted by the University of Arizona concluded that the skeleton belonged to a           
man no older than 22 and who had died no earlier than 1972, ruling out the                 
possibility that it was the remains of Glen Hyde.