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

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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.
https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... &start=330
Moffatt update 2 will contain evidence regarding the rapids where Moffatt died, including previously omitted passages on pages 172 and 173 of Pessl’s book (2014); thanks to DD for the last.

Contents.
Newly discovered evidences of participants Franck and Pessl.

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 with the participants (rather than on written submissions from them), and that neither Franck nor Pessl had had the opportunity to proofread the corresponding article.

The new evidence of 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/

Omission. While trying to retrieve a pack, Grinnell later fell into the river, leaving only Franck dry and fully able to help the others. But Grinnell did what he could.

Factual error. Almost immediately after arrival in Baker Lake on 24 September, all survivors but Pessl left on a scheduled flight to Churchill. Largely to look after Moffatt’s burial, he stayed until 7 October. [Pessl book, p 154] Aside. I saw no date for the retrieval of the cache.

For fussbudgets,
J B Tyrrell’s first name was Joseph, and the Tyrrell trip took place in 1893.
And the evidence is conflicted regarding the order of the canoes on 14 September; but all sources agree that the lead canoe was Moffatt-Lanouette.

The new evidence of Pessl.
His contribution to a 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.


Comment regarding the passage
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!
Moffatt had corresponded with JBT and had obtained a copy of his journal; by these means, he had obtained valuable information, in particular regarding rapids.
Unfortunately, my best efforts failed to gain access to JBT’s response to either Moffatt’s first letter or to obtain JBT’s journal.

Factual error 1.
It is incorrect the assertion that Moffatt used Tyrell’s schedule as a guide and they were close to his pace until the very end of the trip.
The Tyrrell party arrived in 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.

Factual error 2.
…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.
The evidence of the participants disagrees. 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 portage was begun that day and completed in the morning of 14 September; Moffatt died later that day in rapids downstream from it.

Factual error 3,
this regarding the editor’s passage 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.
Aside. The reference is to the rapids and the gorge above Grant Lake. [Pessl book; pp 112-122; 30 August to 5 September].
I don’t know about the rapids, but no humans could have run the gorge without incident.
Reference 1. The comments of Pessl and Franck [Pessl book, pp 119&120].
Reference 2. The evidence of J B Tyrrell: 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]
I note in particular
that …the most serious obstruction on the whole river is located between Dubawnt Lake and Grant Lake, and
that Moffatt died in rapids between Wharton Lake and Marjorie Lake (which lies downstream from Grant Lake).

Closing comments.
I vouch for the accuracy of the material regarding me in the Dartmouth article.
Given the factual errors in both the Harvard and the Dartmouth articles, I raise the possibility of other errors.

Asides regarding the Dubawnt and Hearne.
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
Samuel Hearne is the Ancient Mariner of Coleridge’s poem.
https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Mariner- ... 0786713046

Edition of 3 September 2019.

_________________

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 September 4th, 2019, 9:55 am, edited 6 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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