Grand Canyon Mystery Revisited
A River Guide Recreates the Trip of Long-Vanished Lovers
Listen to part one of Howard Berkes' report on Morning Edition.
Listen to part two of Howard Berkes' report on Morning Edition.
View the photo gallery of Grand Canyon Mystery
Aug. 23-24, 2001 — It's been 70 years since a honeymoon couple disappeared in the Grand Canyon during what would have been a record-setting rafting trip -- the fastest river trip on the Colorado River, the first through every rapid and the first by a woman.
Idaho farmer Glen Hyde and his bohemian wife Bessie almost made it. They traveled 600 miles on the Green and Colorado Rivers in a massive wooden boat called a sweep scow. The boat was found intact, still holding the couple's food, diary, guidebook, gun, clothing and boots, just 46 miles from the mouth of the Grand Canyon. But one of the biggest-ever Grand Canyon searches failed to turn up any sign of the honeymooners.
Ever since, Glen and Bessie Hyde have been the focus of campfire stories. At least four apparent Glens and Bessies appeared in later years, triggering legends of miraculous escapes. One woman claiming to be Bessie spoke up on a Grand Canyon river trip after listening to the story.
Former river guide Brad Dimock was so intrigued by the mystery, he spent two years tracking down every legend, learning everything he could about Glen and Bessie Hyde, and trying to decipher the couple's fate. He even built a replica of the Hyde's sweep scow and took it down the Colorado River. Dimock found the boat completely uncontrollable -- and he thinks he discovered what really happened. His new book about the Hydes, their adventure, and his attempt to replicate their trip, is called Sunk Without A Sound: The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde (www.fretwater.com).
NPR Correspondent Howard Berkes and Producer Cindy Carpien joined Dimock on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon this summer, for a retelling of the tale, an exploration of the legends, and some answers to the mystery. Hear their two-part report Aug. 23 and 24 on Morning Edition.
• Learn more about the Grand Canyon by visiting the official Web site of Grand Canyon National Park.
• Read the Los Angeles Times' book review for Grand Ambition, a new novel based on the disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde.