View topic - The journal of Moffatt-party participant Ed Lanouette

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PostPosted: February 7th, 2019, 12:44 pm 
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It is indeed true that I was not there.
Neither were any of Moffatt's accusers (for example the Sports Illustrated editor), with the exception of Grinnell; but his contribution is balanced by that of Pessl, also a participant.


My first real introduction to this whole story was reading Grinnell's book a few years ago. I wouldn't have called him an accuser of Moffatt. If he was hard on anyone I thought it was Skip Pessl.

So when I read Skip's book I was surprised he felt the need to defend Moffatt after Grinnell's book. I was also surprised when I didn't find any large contradictions between the two books. In fact I felt overall they corroborated each other.

My feeling at the time was that Skip was not pleased with how he himself was portrayed in Grinnell's book and for that reason was hyper critical of any inconsistencies as he saw them.

Alan


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2019, 1:22 pm 
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I agree with Alan that persons acting in good faith can start from the same evidence but come to different conclusions.
But I'd like to learn his opinion regarding Grinnell's redaction (and replacement with an ellipsis) of the passage

This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids into Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids from the Sports Illustrated version (a faithful condensation) of Lanouette’s journal for the day of Moffatt’s death.
Reference. Grinnell's book (1996), top of p 202.

It seems that Grinnell thought this to be a significant item, for it is the only change that he made to the condensation.

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A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)



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PostPosted: February 7th, 2019, 3:37 pm 
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Allan Jacobs wrote:
But I'd like to learn his opinion regarding Grinnell's redaction (and replacement with an ellipsis) of the passage

This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids into Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids from the Sports Illustrated version (a faithful condensation) of Lanouette’s journal for the day of Moffatt’s death.
Reference. Grinnell's book (1996), top of p 202.

It seems that Grinnell thought this to be a significant item, for it is the only change that he made to the condensation.


Or maybe he thought it was an insignificant item.

I don't know why he left that line out. I know you think it's a pivotal piece of information but I'm afraid I can't agree.

Without a fairly involved discussion about Tyrel and his maps and correspondence and an unmarked rapid that quote by itself makes it sound as if Moffat couldn't read a map. Perhaps that's why Grinnell didn't include it.

Either way I think I'll re-read both the Grinnell and Pessl books again this winter to see if I still feel the same way about them.

PS: where did you find information about Tyrel's travels through the area? I'd tried finding copies of his publications but came up empty except for a short blurb about explorations into northern Canada that was nothing more than a teaser at the time about his trip.

Alan


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2019, 6:34 am 
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Thanks for the response. Given that that redaction was the only change made by Grinnell, perhaps there is something special about it.

The books of the Tyrrell brothers are held at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (University of Toronto). The kind and helpful staff there made copies of the relevant portions (those for the reach from Black Lake to Baker Lake).
And I came across other items of interest, especially J B Tyrrell's maps for the 1893 expedition.
But my search failed in other respects. I recall that Moffatt's two letters to JBT are there; I did not find JBT's response (known to have been made) to Moffatt's first.
And it appears that JBT's journal was never held there. I saw a suggestion that it is held at the Dartmouth College Library, but the staff there knew nothing of it.

I shall not be able to respond for perhaps a few weeks, and so I request a hiatus.

Yours in paddling, Allan

EDIT 1. I suggest that the key word in the redacted passage is surprised.

EDIT 2. The following provides the full text of J B Tyrrell's book for the reach where Moffatt died.
Below Wharton Lake the river flows at first eastward, and then southward, for four miles to a small lake, in which distance it rushes down two rapids with descents respectively of 15 and 6 feet.
The small lake seems to be everywhere shallow, though the water is very clear. On its south side is a sand ridge or (esker)
[character apparently an italic l, which makes no sense to me] about 300 feet high, trending east-and-west, on the side of which the three terraces seen at the quartzite hill are well shown. Towards the west end of the ridge are scarped banks of sand almost eighty feet high. On the north side of the lake is a cluster of low islands, composed of boulders of red gneiss, covered with moss and grass. Low hills of boulders continue eastward, along the course of the river, for the next five miles. The stream has no well-defined channel, but flows around and between these hills with a current of from five to eight miles an hour. Five miles below the small lake is a rapid with a descent of twenty feet, past the lower part of which a portage 400 yards long was made over a hill of boulders, and we embarked from a sheet of ice that, on the 23rd of August, was still frozen to the bank. Above the rapid a gravel plain extends a long distance back from the river. At the foot of this rapid the river turns at right angles and flows northward for seven miles as a wide shallow rapid stream, through low country, composed of small morainic or drumlin-like hills of boulders of light-gray well foliated gneiss.
Lady Marjorie Lake, so named as a mark of respect… , was entered at the south end, …


EDIT 3. Thanks to Alan for respecting my request.

EDIT 4. Perhaps the main difference between the books of Grinnell and Pessl is that
Grinnell makes assertions, whereas
Pessl provides mostly passages (I call these evidences) from his journal and that of Franck.
I intend my next post to provide an analysis of Grinnell's assertions.

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A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)



Last edited by Allan Jacobs on February 8th, 2019, 10:47 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2019, 6:46 am 
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Alan Jacobs said: "Thanks for the response. Given that that redaction was the only change made by Grinnell, perhaps there is something special about it. " Perhaps not. At some point this become gossip, supporting Canoeheadted's:

"You weren't there. You don't know the real story either.
My experience reading other's writings is that everything is so embellished (or dressed up) to "capture" the reader or to evoke "feelings".

Like any professional investigator, you learn that people recall shared events much differently. Usually trying to force information towards their interpretation of the event."

Trying to build a narrative by compiling hypothetical constructs while interesting can warp the weave of the fabric. One could argue that even the participants are subject to subjective realities. a kind of "personal equation", therefore bias. In effect we have these narratives which are "personal equations" which are then modified by outsiders with their own agendas (personal equations). Definitely the stuff of myth building. Solipsism trying to break out of its shell! Myth as reality. As real as it gets.


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2019, 5:36 am 
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I find this all a remarkably social event. Here we have a man, Arthur Moffatt, whose last words were, "What do you want me to do?". I can only wonder what his last thoughts were being left out in the cold by his companions. I will never leave my dog alone at his last moment. I have done it in the past out of weakness, but never again. I want him to know his passage to oblivion was shared until he let go.

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PostPosted: February 10th, 2019, 7:46 pm 
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pg 215 Arthur Moffatt: "..What do you want me to do?" It was obvious that he was helpless. "Get undressed and get in this sleeping bag with me"........... I crawled into the sleeping bag and left Art outside to die" Then Grinnell had his dreams. Did Art have his dreams? Taking Grinnell at his word Moffatt, although disable/disorientated, was conscious enough to engage with Grinnell. Art wanted to help. Grinnell left him to die. Very difficult passage.


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PostPosted: February 13th, 2019, 7:21 am 
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While I would not necessarily condemn on one bad choice, it may be that one bad choice is enough to condemn. I have often made bad choices on trips and only the god of chance saved me. I would hope a modicum of skill and presence of mind helped. But indeed it may be that unintended consequences shined upon me that I make noise. So I continue to strut upon the stage. That indeed is my defense of Arthur Moffatt. It may seem insufficient but it may be adequate.

I have been reading, again, Peter Kazaks' "From Reindeer Lake to Eskimo Point". In part searching for a quote. Not there yet, but a trail of crumbs is leading in that direction. If leaders and styles define and are important in the success of trips, then is it not important to compare styles of leaders? I will let the participants of Arthur Moffatt's Dubawnt River trip define Arthur Moffatt's style through the content of their journals/books. Peter Kazaks' book is my source for Luste's style. pg 69 "..... George had organized everything - equipment, food, and duty rosters in an almost military manner." pg 73 "We did take time out to rest,....., but usually only when high winds forced us to do so and only occasionally because the opportunity was attractive." The quote I am looking for is when one of the fellow travelers complained that George Luste "was like a mother without tits". An aside, I believe this was the year Dan Selig and I did a Trip. The ice on northern Neultin Lake was instrumental on our detour to Dalphe Lake while Luste continued to the Kognak. By the time he got to Arviat, we had gone south. Came out in a phone conversation.


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PostPosted: February 13th, 2019, 12:02 pm 
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Well the titillating passage can be found on pgs. 82/83. Faced with not being able to follow "carry in - Carry out" enviro dictate they had a face off.

"Perhaps I was not the only one out of sorts, We never left trash ar a campsite - always burned or buried everything. But the previous night we had beer and wine bottles, and that day George said, Let's see, Gerd. I guess you got rid of the bottles in the lake. I did not see you do it."
Gerd: "Well, I had to work at it - stopper them up!"
Stopper them up?" George asked.
I chuckled, and Gerd replied, " Yeah, otherwise they would sink when I put them in the lake. Jesus Christ, George! Your like a mother without tits."


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2019, 12:42 pm 
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I finished my re-read of Skip Pessl's book last night. It reinforced my belief that JB Tyrel leaving that rapid off the map played a very minor role in the tragedy.

For starters the forward of the book mentions Tyrel was 94 years old at the time and he made that trip about 70 years prior. How much faith can you put in the memory of a 94 year old man or his maps/journals from when he was 25 years old? He made that trip one time and I'm sure it was a trying experience. You can't expect perfection.

Early on in the trip they were finding the maps to be inaccurate and rapids either not where they were supposed to be or not the intensity they were told. By the time of their mishap they shouldn't have been putting too much faith in them.

Earlier in the tip Art suspected Tyrel had higher water conditions because rapids that didn't give Tyrel problems were giving this group trouble. Also speculation that over 70 years the rapids could change substantially.

In the epilogue of the book Skip says the main cause of the accident was the rush to make miles and not scouting rapids; like they'd been doing earlier in the trip. I don't remember the exact quote but it was something along the lines of "rather than pulling to shore to scout rapids we were standing in the canoes for a better view as we were already being swept down. This worked for days on many rapids except one."

Earlier in the trip they were not all running the rapids at the same time. They'd wait for the first canoe to go down before the others would follow and many times the more experienced paddlers would run the canoes while others portaged some gear to lighten the load. They seemed to have a good system that broke down later in the trip.

Will start Grinnell's book tonight.

And completely unrelated to the tragedy but having to do with an earlier conversation in this thread about broken peanut butter jars and whether or not they actually at the peanut butter. In a journal entry Peter Franck makes mention of finding two broken peanut butter jars. A couple days later an entry says he woke up with pain in his intestines and that "maybe I swallowed some glass after all."

Alan


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PostPosted: February 15th, 2019, 2:16 am 
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Alan Gage said: "Early on in the trip they were finding the maps to be inaccurate and rapids either not where they were supposed to be or not the intensity they were told. By the time of their mishap they shouldn't have been putting too much faith in them. "

Given that then what would it mean to see/hear rapid that were not marked period?

Grinnell's book presents (starting on pg 207) a "paraphrased" version of Lanouette Post 8 of 8. 10 September to 16 September provided by Alan Jacobs although it is presented as an excerpt. Interesting, because George Grinnell and Peter Franck survived the rapid, although George Grinnell fell out of the canoe during the rescue, yet took liberties with Lanouette journal without acknowledging it.


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PostPosted: February 15th, 2019, 8:40 am 
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Was there ever an account of the fatal day from Peter Franck? If so I certainly would like to read it.

Skip Pessl's book is a series of daily journal entries from both him and Franck but the Franck journal stops after that terrible blizzard they endured. From that point on the rest of the book was just Skip's journal. I would have loved to hear Peter's account of that as well to compare it with Grinnell's since they were tent mates.

Skip's account of the fatal rapids was written after they had returned to "civilization" and I'm surprised it didn't mention George falling in the water. Reading Skip's account it just sounds like two canoes overturned and after the 3rd canoe pulled to shore to empty water taken on in the rapids they rescued the other 4 men. Doesn't say anything about George falling out of the canoe trying to rescue packs before rescuing men.

It's interesting to read the Pessl/Franck journal entries side by side to see what they experienced in common and their different perceptions of the same events.

Alan


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PostPosted: February 15th, 2019, 10:35 am 
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Alan Gage "I would have loved to hear Peter's account of that as well to compare it with Grinnell's since they were tent mates."

I believe you will find Grinnell's is a an elaborated upon Lanouette Journal.

The follow excerpt from Lanouette journal is interesting:

"George and Pete paddled up and asked if we could hold on—we both replied “yes,” and told them to get our personal packs aboard first(they had since drifted away). They left us to get the packs. Then, to our horror, as George struggled to haul my soaked pack into the canoe,he lost balance and toppled overboard—with a lunge, he tried to haul himself back aboard—I cheered him on—Pete half crouched, half standing almost overturned the canoe. Instead it took in a good amount of water. George made several attempts to haul himself out of the water, but each attempt was weaker than the last. Finally, Pete had to paddle to shore, dragging George—Once again they dumped out the water and came back. This time they managed to drag Bruce and Skip to a small rocky island and leave them there."

That was another bad judgement call by Moffatt that caused them precious minutes under severe conditions.


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PostPosted: Yesterday, 10:06 am 
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It's interesting to read the Pessl/Franck journal entries side by side to see what they experienced in common and their different perceptions of the same events.

perception as reality threads of point counter point? then we can weave our own perceptions of their perceptions? Anomalies equivocating about anomalies equivocating about a "shared experience"?


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