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PostPosted: May 28th, 2019, 2:01 pm 
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Different water levels do change the nature of rivers. Definitely not black and white. Lower water levels may mean more rocks to avoid but also results in less pushy current, less current differential, etc. High water levels may mean fewer rocks to avoid but more powerful current, greater current differential, less time to react and manoeuvre, more dangerous holes, and fewer, smaller, more turbulent eddies. In flood conditions shorelines can be dangerous.

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2019, 6:34 pm 
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I would argue that any seasoned river runner can tell the relative water level of any river just by looking at it. I have countless photos of many river showing various stages of a river's water level. When I get back to AZ I will cull and post them. Since there is controversy over the effects of water level on a river's turbulence, it is not unreasonable to give weight to Moffatt when on [Pessl book, p 91] "Art thinks that the river may be lower now than when Tyrrell went through as Tyrrell didn’t have much trouble with any of these rapids. And that Tryell did not mark the rapids just above Majorie Lake because he didn't experience them. And Moffatt did.

example of late season receded shoreline on Kaleet River :

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Back River water level mark near Hawks Rapid

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PostPosted: May 29th, 2019, 11:07 am 
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Unlike David and Juanita, I was far too much the tourist to have tackled the Kaleet.

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PostPosted: May 29th, 2019, 2:37 pm 
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We are all on a fantasy tour.


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2019, 9:12 am 
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It has been said the the Moffatt group replicated/followed Tyrrell's Trip. It could be argued that Tyrrell's route was a blank filled in by Tyrrell, thus didn't exist until they discovered it. Any journey of discovery would have false leads, faulty judgement, etc. Those efforts would also leave a footprint of at least footnote worthiness on the path followed. Thus following a map that someone else created is not following the route to its creation and is not following/replicating on many levels. A form of 'imitative behavior' if you will. I cannot imagine recreating some of the passages of Tyrrell without a map. Reminds me of a passage in Downes "SLEEPING ISLAND" on path finding "THE LITTLE LAKES"


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2019, 11:42 am 
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Pg 139 of SLEEPING ISLAND: "While John was gone, a feeling of futility crept over me. I began to debate in my mind what we should turn to if we were unable to find the trail. The type country we were in is particularly well adapted to concealing any sort of trail. .......When I started to analyze the problem and set various bits of description and advice one against the other, I became confused and as baffled as if I had tried to follow one of the game trails. My scientific approach completely broke down, and there seemed nothing left to do but to call upon my puagan. Unfortunately I was deprived by birth and circumstances even of this."

Downes, like Tyrrell only had word of mouth and perhaps some primitive sketches to show them the way. Those that followed had a puagan. One was named Tyrrell and the other was named Downes.


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PostPosted: August 18th, 2019, 7:05 am 
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Moffatt update 1.

Introduction.
My continuing search for evidence of the participants recently found two articles. The presence of significant factual errors in both convinces me
that they are based on interviews (not written submissions) with Franck and Pessl, and
that neither had had the opportunity to proofread the article.

The new evidence of Peter Franck.
Soph Describes Fatal Canoe Mishap. Canadian Accident. NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED September 29, 1955.
Peter T. Franck '58, back in Cambridge after a Canadian canoe trip which claimed the death of his group's leader, said last night that the accident occurred partly because "we were rushing to get out before winter set in."
On Sept. 14, the six-man expedition, organized by adventurer-lecturer Arthur Moffatt, '36, of Norwich, Vt., and consisting, besides Franck, of three Dartmouth students, Bruce LeFavour, Joseph Lanouette, and Fred Pessl, together with George Grinnell, was paddling down the swift Dubawnt River, about 900 miles north of Winnipeg.
Behind schedule and hurrying to get out before the lakes froze, Moffatt led the way into some rapids, which Franck said did not at first appear "any better or worse than the many others we had shot that morning."
Moffat and Lanouette were suddenly pitched from their canoe, but Grinnell and Franck, second in line, were miraculously able to shoot the rapids, unload their canoe on shore, and head back for the others. By this time Pessl's canoe had also turned over, leaving four men floundering in the freezing water.
Suffering from extreme shock when finally rescued, Moffatt never recovered and died within an hour. The others, all exhausted and practically numb, huddled for the night in the only two-man tent that was still usable. The five arrived at Baker Lake on Sept. 24, ten days after the fatal accident, from where a search plane flew them to Churchill, Manitoba.
Moffatt, who had done extensive travelling in Canada, planned a route from Lake Athabaska down the
Dubawnt River to Baker Lake that had last been travelled by James B. Tyrell in 1898, except possibly for unknown trappers and Eskimoes.
The expedition relied on the abundant and delicious, caribou, trout, and ptarmigan, a chicken-like bird, for food.
While having no definite plans, Franck said he would sometime like to take a return trip.

Source. Harvard University’s Crimson. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1955 ... ap-ppeter/

Comments.
1. Franck gives the order of the canoes as Moffatt-Lanouette, Franck-Grinnell and Pessl-LeFavour; the corresponding entry in Pessl’s book is unclear regarding the last two.
2. Although Grinnell later fell into the river while retrieving a pack (leaving only Franck dry), he contributed significantly to the effort to save Moffatt’s life.
3. The Moffatt party was indeed rushing/hurrying to get out, but the editor’s assertion that it was doing so in order to get out before the lakes froze is absurd. Moffatt knew from Tyrrell’s book that freeze-up would not occur until well into October.
4. Moffatt had arranged that an air search would be started on 22 September; it began early on the 24th, a few hours before the survivors arrived. Half an hour later, all but Pessl flew to Churchill on a regularly scheduled flight. Largely to look after Moffatt’s burial, he stayed behind; I saw no date for the retrieval of the cache. On 7 October, he left by boat to Chesterfield Inlet, arriving three days later. [Pessl book, p 154]

5. The comment of George Luste.
…one is struck by how close all six came to perishing in the cold water. Numerous more tragic scenarios come to mind. If the one canoe had not managed to stay afloat while going over the second drop, nobody would have survived. If Peter Franck had not had the skill (or luck) to keep the last canoe upright when George fell in, it is difficult to imagine how any of them would have survived. Touching bottom at the last moment saved George as Peter was trying to drag him to land. The lucky proximity of the island, that allowed for the rescue of Skip and Bruce, may have been critical to saving both of them. The availability of some dry sleeping bags was another critical factor. Bruce’s sleeping bag, from the first pack rescued, may have made the difference for both George and Joe. The fact that Skip was physically able to keep going and together with Peter help set up camp may have been decisive in saving lives. Peter’s bag of dry wood enabled them to provide some hot food. The sunshine and the warmth of the following day was a godsend. The list of lucky, yet critical, factors that kept five of the six alive could probably be much longer. [Grinnell book, p 295]

The new evidence of Fred “Skip” Pessl.
His contribution to the Dartmouth College article of Spring 2018, as edited by Dave Gang and reported in The Transmission The Dartmouth Class of 1968 Newsletter.
The Moffatt trip was intended to trace the route pioneered by Joseph B. Tyrrell in 1893 with his brother James, three Iroquois, and three Metis Indians. Starting in Black Lake, Saskatchewan, moving through vast sections of the North West Territories, the trip followed the Dubawnt River most of the way and ended in Baker Lake above the Chesterfield Inlet in the northern-most section of Hudson Bay. This route left the forested portion of the Canadian Shield and emerged above the tree line into the so-called Barrens. It ran through Dubawnt Lake which is ice-bound almost the entire year. This is hostile and unforgiving country. The land owes you nothing. And, the water is unforgiving. Second, why is this trip important? It is important because it may be the most controversial canoe trip ever attempted in North America. Trip leader Art Moffatt ’41 was an avid and experienced canoe tripper. He was an outdoorsman and a lover of nature. He had paddled numerous Canadian rivers, including the Albany River (which I ran in 1963) to James Bay, the Allagash, the Androscoggin, and the Penobscott. He ran the Albany River six times, twice with Skip Pessl ’55 and once with Peter Franck. Fascinated with the Dubawnt River, Art was actually in close communication with Joseph B. Tyrell about the particulars of his trip down the river in 1893, and Tyrell shared with him the details of his journal on the trip! Read that sentence again and imagine that! The only earlier recorded trip on the Dubawnt was by Samuel Hearne
in 1770 (and, no, I am not going to claim that his trip was the first recorded Dartmouth Freshman Trip—
although I must admit that it is tempting!). In 1955, Art recruited four Dartmouth men and one Harvard student to come with him to conquer the Dubawnt. On September 14, two of the three canoes capsized in a tumultuous rapid, and five of the six travelers were submerged in the water in freezing temperatures. Four members of the group spent nearly thirty minutes in the water. Each of those exposed either became delirious or unconscious. Skip Pessl says that he has no recollection of the first two hours on land, but he understands that he and LeFavour kept hitting each other on the shore to produce body heat and keep their clothing from freezing on them. Within an hour, Art Moffatt was dead from hypothermia, Lanouette barely recovered, and it is a miracle that the others exposed didn’t perish as well. It is easy to say that you shouldn’t swim fully clothed in winter conditions, but what do you when that is where you find yourself? With this outcome, their trip became one of both tragedy and controversy. It has been the subject of withering criticism in a 1959 Sports Illustrated article, a 1996 book by George Grinnell about his experience on the trip and his critical reviews, a 2014 book by Skip Pessl in defense, and a detailed article by Allan Jacobs with a point-by-point defense.
The criticisms (and a response by Skip Pessl) follow: these were unseasoned paddlers (all of the young men were already seasoned or had become experienced by the time of the challenging part of the trip), that the trip had conflicted goals (yes, a secondary goal was photography and it produced what turned out to be an incredible record), that there was an inadequate stock of food (the original food delivery never arrived and the group had to try to replicate supplies at the local Hudson’s Bay store - with a long delay and mixed success - but they were able to live off the land for most of the trip), that they had improper equipment (other than a few materials like nylon, they had pretty much the same equipment as the 1893 Tyrell expedition because fabrics we take for granted today had not yet been discovered), that there was lack of attention to schedule (Moffatt used Tyrell’s schedule as a guide and they were close to his pace until the very end of the trip. Peter Franck did suggest a faster pace of travel, but not in a manner of heightened urgency), and finally that they resorted to running rapids blind in mid-September winter conditions (on the contrary, as discussed below). As it relates to their pace, Pessl notes that it was awesome and humbling, and maybe even enchanting, when they left the tree line, because the terrain became infinite and so other worldly, but they didn’t fall into a trance as a result. In August, they may have taken several unwise rest days, but the biggest delays were due to weather, especially in September when they were also scouting a bad stretch of rapids and were delayed by five days. It turns out that they were overly cautious and portaged those rapids, but would actually have been able to run them without incident. When the weather turned cold, while the group still felt in control of their destiny, he remembers the concern they all shared when they had to break the ice in the milk pot. And, finally, on that fateful September 14, they saw from Tyrrell’s journal that there were to be two easy rapids and then a portage. Moffatt’s group ran one rapid and expected a second easy one. They didn’t realize at the time that the one they ran turned out to a blending together of the two that Tyrell had noted, so when they rounded a corner in the river, they heard a deafening roar and faced a wall of white water.
Pessl will never be the same after this trip. He lost a dear friend and mentor in Art Moffatt, a man he admired and learned from. It cannot be easy to see such a man full of life one moment—and then gone within an hour. He has taken this experience as a teachable moment and states firmly that this trip totally and radically changed his life. He abandoned his plans to pursue medicine, became a pacifist like Moffatt, and has spent his career as a geologist and his life ever since trying to find his place in nature as a human being. He is a truly kind and gentle man and has spent untold hours with me going over every difficult detail of this trip. But, he doesn’t choose to crawl into a shell and shelter from risks. He also remains an enthusiastic fan of Dartmouth trips and trips in general. He wants to see people get out in the world and take chances. Of course, he notes, things don’t always go as planned. But, taking risks is an inherent feature of the human spirit. Risk is an attractive feature of being in nature. Risk builds and shapes a person.


Comments.
1. It is important for our understanding of events that J B Tyrrell had shared with Moffatt details of his journal on the trip!
2. Thanks to Pessl, I possess copies of Moffatt’s two letters to J B Tyrrell.
3. In his article of 1955, LeFavour documented that JBT had provided Moffatt with important evidence regarding rapids, especially those where Moffatt died.
4. My best efforts failed to obtain copies of any of these three items: JBT’s journal, JBT’s response to Moffatt’s first letter, and a copy of JBT’s rapids advice.

Factual error 1.
It is untrue that Moffatt used Tyrell’s schedule as a guide and that they were close to his pace until the very end of the trip.
The evidence: The Tyrrell party reached Baker Lake on 2 September [JBT book, p 74F], whereas Moffatt had planned to arrive there on 15 September, with a grace period of a week before the air search was begun. That search began on 24 September, a few hours before the survivors arrived.
Aside. The Tyrrell trip continued down the Thelon to Hudson Bay, and then far along the coast; I found JBT’s account a harrowing read.

Factual error 2.
The assertion of the editor: …on that fateful September 14, they saw from Tyrrell’s journal that there were to be two easy rapids and then a portage. Moffatt’s group ran one rapid and expected a second easy one. They didn’t realize at the time that the one they ran turned out to a blending of the two that they ran turned out to be a blending together of the two that Tyrrell had noted, so when they rounded a corner in the river, they heard a deafening roar and faced a wall of white water.
Pessl’s book documents that the two easy rapids (those with descents of 15 and 6 feet and located upstream from the portage) were run without incident on 13 September. The short portage begun that day was completed in the next morning; Moffatt died later that day in rapids downstream from it.

Factual error 3.
The text of the editor’s comment: …especially in September when they were also scouting a bad stretch of rapids and were delayed by five days. It turns out that they were overly cautious and portaged those rapids, but would actually have been able to run them without incident.
The reference is to the rapids and the gorge above Grant Lake, which lie well upstream from the reach where Moffatt died. [Pessl book; pp 112-122; 30 August to 5 September]. I don’t know about the rapids, but no human could have run that gorge without incident.
Evidence 1, that of J B Tyrrell’s book: Seven miles below Doobaunt Lake, the river flows over a ridge…and then suddenly contracts, and for two miles rushes as a foaming torrent down a narrow gorge about twenty yards wide, descending in the distance one hundred feet. …Past this heavy rapid, which is the most serious obstruction on the whole river, a portage two and a half miles was made on the south bank. [p 63F]
Evidence 2, the comments of Pessl and Franck, as provided in Pessl’s book (pp 119&120).
Summary. …the most serious obstruction on the whole river lies between Dubawnt Lake and Grant Lake. Moffatt did not die in those rapids, but rather in rapids well downstream from Grant Lake, explicitly those between Wharton Lake and Marjorie Lake.

Comments regarding these newly discovered articles.
I vouch for the accuracy of the material regarding me in the Dartmouth article.
Given the factual errors documented in both it and the Harvard article, I raise the possibility of more.
Aside. J B Tyrrell’s first name was Joseph, and the trip with his brother James W took place in 1893.

Complementary material.
The first recorded mention of the Dubawnt River.
On the second of his three attempts to find the copper source known to lie west of Hudson Bay, Hearne crossed the Kazan River, reached the Dubawnt at Dubawnt Lake, somehow got over to the Coppermine River and continued down it almost to the sea.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hearne
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppermine_River
Hearne is the Ancient Mariner of Coleridge’s poem.
https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Mariner- ... 0786713046

Edition of 23 October 2019.

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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 October 23rd, 2019, 10:31 am, edited 9 times in total.

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PostPosted: August 18th, 2019, 8:04 pm 
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OMG! The multiverse meets its creator: Doris Day in "I'm forever blowing bubbles!"


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2019, 10:59 am 
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Grinnell's betrayal of Arthur Moffatt.

Introduction.
The full content of the journal of Lanouette (Moffatt’s bowperson) for 14 September (the day of Moffatt’s death) became publicly available only when I posted it at
https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... 81&t=46738
In 1959, Lanouette provided Sports Illustrated with a copy of his journal for that day. [private correspondence]. Comparison with the original shows the following SI condensation to be a faithful one.
After a fine lunch of fish chowder, we shoved off again at around 2:30. The weather was still dismal, although the wind had dropped. In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon. 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.
At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul over to shore to have a look as we usually did. The river was straight and we could see both the top and foot of the rough water quite clearly, or we thought we could. …
[SI article, p 85]
Aside. I intend to provide the full content of SI version of Lanouette’s journal for that day.

Grinnell’s rendition of that passage.
After a fine lunch of fish chowder, we shoved off again at around 2:30. The weather was still dismal, although the wind had dropped. In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon….
At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul over to shore to have a look as we usually did. The river was straight and we could see both the top and foot of the rough water quite clearly, or we thought we could. …
. [Grinnell book (1996), top of p 202.]

Comparison reveals that Grinnell redacted (and replaced with an ellipsis) the three sentences 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.
I emphasise that this was the only change that Grinnell made to the entire SI passage for that day.
That passage, especially the surprised comment, evinces that Moffatt's prior information had proved incorrect.

Summary.
Grinnell redacted evidence of a cause of Moffatt’s death.
It follows that even the subtitle of his book is a falsehood.

Conclusion.
Grinnell betrayed Moffatt.

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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 October 28th, 2019, 3:44 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2019, 1:25 pm 
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Since this thread was started I've run across numerous accounts of paddlers, both recent and historical, who have come across rapids that didn't exist on maps, were in the wrong location, or were much bigger than indicated. In all of those cases the paddlers trusted what their eyes and ears were telling them rather than the information they'd been given through maps, text, or personal guidance.

Moffatt flat out took a stupid chance and paid for it. Not saying he deserved it but that's what happened.

And I still don't understand the need to defend him. Most of these "betrayals", to my mind, are a real stretch. It's like watching a TV documentary where they need to trump up a story for drama.

Alan


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PostPosted: October 24th, 2019, 8:07 am 
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My next post will include
(a) the full content of Lanouette's journal for 14 September, and
(b) the full content of Grinnell's book for that day.
My first post provided only passages.
It will include no opinions/comments on my part.

Thanks to all for their patience.

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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: October 24th, 2019, 11:09 am 
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My question to Alan Jacobs: Are you going to resurrect "In Defense of Arthur Moffatt or crucify Grinnell?


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PostPosted: October 26th, 2019, 11:55 pm 
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Alan Jacobs said in the Comment section of In Defense of Arthur Moffatt: "In short, Moffatt was falsely accused of incompetence for 55 years, starting in 1959.

Fred "Skip" Pessl wrote in XVII PREFACE of his book "Barren Grounds":

The weather grew harsh. Freezing temperatures, wind-driven snow, dwindling food supplies, and deteriorating equipment pushed us hard to travel faster and more efficiently, and ultimately we made a fatal mistake. We approached Majorie Lake with caution, without an onshore look. Standing up in our canoes as we floated toward the rapids, we saw a modest current sweeping toward the right-hand bend and drove our canoes into that initial current V.

The rest is wilderness canoeing history. ..."

reconciling Jacobs with Pessl is the challenge, footnotes and marginalia not withstanding


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PostPosted: October 28th, 2019, 8:41 am 
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Introduction.
The full content of the journal of Lanouette (Moffatt’s bowperson) for 14 September (the day of Moffatt’s death) was not publicly available until my CCR post of 17 May 2018: https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... 81&t=46738
In 1959, Lanouette provided Sports Illustrated with a copy of his journal for that day. [private correspondence]. Comparison shows the SI condensation to be a faithful one.

The Sports Illustrated passage for the afternoon of 14 September.
After a fine lunch of fish chowder, we shoved off again at around 2:30. The weather was still dismal, although the wind had dropped. In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon. 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.
At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul over to shore to have a look as we usually did. The river was straight and we could see both the top and foot of the rough water quite clearly, or we thought we could. We barreled happily along. We bounced over a couple of fair-sized waves and took in a couple of splashes, but I didn’t mind, as I had made an apron of my poncho and remained dry enough. I was looking a few feet in front of the canoe for submerged rocks when Art suddenly shouted “Paddle.”

Comparison of the original with the SI condensation reveals the latter to be a faithful representation.

The key passage in the SI condensation for the afternoon of 14 September.
After a fine lunch of fish chowder, we shoved off again at around 2:30. The weather was still dismal, although the wind had dropped. In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon. 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.
At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing
We didn’t even haul over to shore to have a look as we usually did. The river was straight and we could see both the top and foot of the rough water quite clearly, or we thought we could.


Grinnell's representation of that passage.
After a fine lunch of fish chowder, we shoved off again at around 2:30. The weather was still dismal, although the wind had dropped. In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon….
At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul over to shore to have a look as we usually did. The river was straight and we could see both the top and foot of the rough water quite clearly, or we thought we could. …
. [Grinnell book (1996), top of p 202]

Comparison of the original with Grinnell's version
reveals that he redacted the following three sentences.
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.
To merit such special attention, there must be something special about those three sentences.
My interpretation: The rapids advice provided to Moffatt had been incorrect.

Conclusion.
Grinnell betrayed Moffatt.

_________________

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 November 4th, 2019, 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: October 28th, 2019, 1:38 pm 
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if an excerpt from [Grinnell book (1996), top of p 202 is not found in my 2010 version can we assume some form of revision happened? If that happened should one acknowledge the revision? If one acknowledges the revision, should one give weight to it? In the spirit of "My continuing search for evidence of the participants recently found..." of course.


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