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By Laura Moncur in The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde

They say we got as far as mile 225 because that’s where they found our boat. It was shored securely at the crude mile marker. They assume we made camp and I stabbed Glen to death and ran away, never to be heard from again. That’s how legends go and I can tell you EXACTLY how this legend came to be, but it would ruin the true story of our disappearance, so I’ll just continue from our docking (without the benefit of a dock, mind you) at mile 225.

Bessie and Glen Hyde by LauraMoncur from Flickr

By the time we had made it that far down the river, I was so tired I wanted to just sleep in our tent for a hundred days, but my ambition and drive wouldn’t let me. Glen was exhausted as well. This wasn’t the honeymoon he had imagined for the two of us. The rapids of the Colorado River are a far cry from the roughest waters of the Snake River in Idaho. He had gotten more than his fill of running the river. Every moment that passed, my vision of our large boat named The Hydes of the River, dimmed in my mind. Glen wanted to quit.

“This is near harder than anythin’ I ever done, Bessie.” My mind scanned my history. Was this the hardest thing I had ever done? It was physically exhausting, for sure, but it hadn’t been the most arduous experience of my life. When I tracked my lying and cheating first husband to the home of the woman he left me for, THAT was my hardest day. It felt as if my heart was pulled out of my body through my eyes and ears. The sight of him in her home and every hard-hearted word he said to me left me barely alive, even though I breathed still. It was only Glen who brought me back to life.

“I’m going to be the first woman to run the Grand Canyon. We have to finish this. We told everyone that we were going to do this.” Maybe it wasn’t Glen who brought me back to life. Maybe it was the river itself. Never before had I felt such a part of something. It was the closest I had felt to being a child in the Ohio River all over again. I was exhausted, but I wanted to master this body of water. I felt like the river was mine and that I could live on it for the rest of my life.

Glen Hyde by LauraMoncur from Flickr“Don’t matter what we told everyone back home. All that matters is that we’re alive. This river’s near killin’ me from the tired of it all.” I tried to reason with him, even though sanity and reason weren’t on my side. “Think about it, Glen. When we conquer this river, we’ll be the first. We could survive on that alone. No struggling for money, no wondering about where food is going to come from, no potato farming. We could use that fame to make a life for ourselves that is better than anything we ever imagined.”

Glen reached for the tent and camping supplies. “I like potato farming.” With those four words the final glimpse of our future boat named The Hydes of the River slipped under the water and disappeared from my mind. I nearly choked with the grief of it, but I was not willing to give up on the title I felt was rightfully mine. Glen replaced the gear in the boat at the sight of me. He knew that he had dashed my dream. He tried to replace it with another one.

“Why don’t we test the Water Breathers? We haven’t even stopped for a moment on this trip to give them a try.” He returned the tent and pulled out my inventions. The ride on the river had been so involving that I had nearly forgotten my Wondrous Water Breathers. By distracting me with another ambition, my loving husband had achieved what we both desperately needed. Some rest.