Subject of Last “Random” Photo: Georgie White

Anybody miss me while I was out of town and away from the Interwebs?  Well, I missed you–or “yinz guys” as we like to way in western PA.

37894Georgie1

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. Photo by Josef Muench. Call # NAU.PH.2003.11.4.3.H3828A

I had several ideas I thought I could write about today, but a second look at this morning’s “random” photo inspired me to do a little digging to see who this woman is and what she’s about.  Fortunately, this was an easy one to run down.

As I’ve said before, most of the photos represented in this series have come by way of  Tumblr and Pinterest, and are either unattributed, or have been reposted so many times that it’s difficult to figure out the original source.

This Sunday’s photo has a lot of clues, and while it shows up all over the net, I had no problem figuring out that the woman in the photo is Georgie White Clark, a fairly famous georgiebookand historically significant river guide who made her mark floating the Colorado River through Arizona’s Grand Canyon (among other places) –which she first descended in the mid 1940’s.  It deserves notices that while most people run the Colorado is rubber rafts, Ms White and a friend did a 60-mile stretch by…swimming it, wearing lifejackets.

Just so we’re clear on what we’re talking about, here’s a glimpse of one of the rapids:

GeorgieRiverTrip

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. 1955. Call # NAU.PH.92.17.1

Not only was she the first woman to swim the canyon, she was the first to row a boat through the canyon, and the first woman to run an outfitter service to guide others through the canyon as well.  Her story is easily found spread across the web, and deserves a look.

GeorgieRiverRats

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives NAU.PH.96.4.190.218

3117377_f520

Glen and Bessie Hyde

And what a good story it is–“controversial” in life–though, for the record, after an admittedly cursory bit of research I’ve found little explanation for her “controversial” resputation beyond the observation that she wasn’t a modern-style feminist and that she liked to pack tin cans for her float expeditions and I suspect, had she been a man that word would not been been applied to her, her legend grew in death. Numerous, but nebulous, clues suggested that her auto-biography was filled with manufactured information, and that she may have been someone entirely different, possibly even a murderer, in the part of her life before she began running the river: Bessie Hyde, who infamously disappeared, along with her husband, on a honeymoon float down the river in 1928 that would have made Bessie the first woman to run the canyon.  Was Georgie actually Bessie, returned 20 years  later to finish what she’d started?  It’s an exciting story that reads like a movie, and can be read in detail here:

http://www.grandcanyontreks.org/georgie.htm

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About JunkChuck

Native, Militant Westsylvanian (the first last best place), laborer, gardener, and literary hobbyist (if by literary you mean "hack"). I've had a bunch of different blogs, probably four, due to a recurring compulsion to start over. This incarnation owes to a desire to dredge up the best entries of the worst little book of hand-scrawled poems I could ever dream of writing, salvageable excerpts from fiction both in progress and long-abandoned. and a smattering of whatever the hell seems to fit at any particular moment. At first blush, I was here just to focus on old, terrible verse, but I reserve the right to include...anything. Maybe everything, certainly my love of pulp novels growing garlic, the Pittsburgh Steelers and howling at the moon--both figuratively and, on rare occasions, literally.
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