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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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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PostPosted: February 10th, 2019, 5:36 am 
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PostPosted: February 10th, 2019, 7:46 pm 
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PostPosted: February 13th, 2019, 7:21 am 
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PostPosted: February 13th, 2019, 12:02 pm 
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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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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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PostPosted: February 16th, 2019, 10:06 am 
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PostPosted: February 17th, 2019, 9:46 am 
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Can't stand it any more AJ. Please correct the spelling of 'defense"!! :D :(

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