Sunk Without a Sound, The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde
Reviewed by Steve Mann


By: Brad Dimock
Published by: Fretwater Press
Paperback, 304 pages

Buy it.

Publication date: January 19, 2001
Price: $28.00
ISBN: 1586480030
Category: Investigative


In October 1928 newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde launched their rough-hewn scow, a coffin-like boat, and headed south from Green River, Utah toward the confluence with the Colorado River, headed for adventure running the whitewater of the Grand Canyon.

On December 9th, 1928,when no telegram arrived at Glen's home announcing the successful completion of the trip, RC Hyde, Glen's father, immediately began a search—one of the most exhaustive in the lower Colorado's history. It had been nearly two weeks since anyone had heard from the couple, just before they plunged into Granite Gorge, the narrowest section of the canyon boasting some of the toughest rapids.

On December 19th the scow was spotted from the air, and on Christmas Day a team arrived at the scene by boat. The scow sat upright, unharmed, dry and fully stocked in the calm waters at river mile 237. No footprints or other signs of human life were spotted in the vicinity. What had happened to Glen and Bessie?

Nearly 70 years later, Brad Dimock decided to find out. Through detailed research and a gutsy reenactment of the trip, Dimock planned to test the many theories that emerged in the intervening years, and to shed light on the whole episode, which had risen to the level of river mythology.

Dimock constructs a replica of the Hyde's lumbering, boxy scow and embarks on a trip of his own down the Colorado with his wife Jeri Ledbetter. Combining his own river exploits with first-hand accounts of those who encountered the Hydes or participated in the rescue/recovery efforts, as well as Bessie's own journal entries recovered from the original scow, Dimock dispels many rumors and postulates the most likely scenarios. Did the Hyde's' escape both the river and the canyon to assume new identities? Did Bessie, disillusioned with the experience and victim of abuse, murder Glen? Did the pair, who did not take life preservers on the trip, simply meet their match at one of the Gorge's difficult rapids, plunge into the cold December river water and drown?

Despite Dimock's extraordinary efforts and fascinating descriptions of both the Hyde's journey and his own, much remains unsolved-and unsolvable. The descriptions are detailed; the subject matter eerie; the writing entertaining; the mystery engrossing. Those interested in the history of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River will find the book particularly worthwhile. Sunk Without a Sound will undoubtedly carve out a deserved place in Grand Canyon and whitewater lore.

Steve Mann is a contributing editor at GearReview.com

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