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
Publication date: January 19, 2001
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
searchone 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