Ancillary 4. Distances.

Major renovations were completed in early November 2017 but I expect that warts remain.
Thanks for your patience. Allan

Ancillary 4. Distances.


1. This Ancillary provides the results of my distance measurements from the end of the road at Black Lake, up the Chipman River to the Dubawnt River, down the Dubawnt to its junction with the Thelon River, and on through Baker Lake to Chesterfield Inlet on Hudson Bay.
2. Moffatt’s original plan was to paddle that entire reach (Black Lake to Hudson Bay), which was the central segment of the Tyrrell-Tyrrell trip of 1893. For it, he gave the distance as almost 900 miles [his Prospectus on p 71 of the SI article, p 71]. Moffatt’s source was likely J B Tyrrell (whose book and journal he possessed and with whom he had corresponded). Perhaps I should mention that JBT belonged to the Geological Survey of Canada and so almost certainly have recorded locations and distances on a regular basis.
As I document below, I measured the distance from Black Lake to Chesterfield Inlet to be ~860 miles (~1,380 km), in good enough agreement with Moffatt’s figure of almost 900 miles.
3. The New York Times article (at the top of page 71 of the SI article) gives 900 miles for the same distance. That distance appears also at the top of p 80 of the SI article.
4. The editor’s introduction to Grinnell’s Canoe article (1988) gives the distance as 1,000 miles [p 18].
5. Pessl gives the distance from Black Lake to Baker Lake to be 900 miles. [Nastawgan, 2013, page 2, bottom of the right column].
6. Sometime before the trip started (I don’t know when the decision was made), Moffatt decided to exit instead at Baker Lake. The conclusive evidence that Baker Lake was the terminus is that the RCMP detachment there expected the party to arrive on 15 September (with a grace period of seven days before a search was started).
As I document below, omission of the Baker-Chesterfield reach shortened the trip by ~177 miles (~285 km), to ~680 miles (~1,100 km).
7. And so I don’t understand Moffatt’s comment, made while on the trip: Well, but what if we rush to the coast and don’t come back with anything? [Pessl, p XVII].

The question, the answer, etc.

The question.
While on the trip, did Moffatt believe that the distance to be travelled was ~900 miles?
Comment. It appears that several accusers believed this to be case, and accordingly made highly negative comments regarding the pace.
Preliminary to the answer.
Moffatt’s journal, as provided in the SI article, records at least once (that’s good enough for the purpose) the distance yet to be travelled to Baker Lake. To be specific, he gives 400 miles for the reach from Cairn Point on Carey Lake to Baker Lake, [p 76, upper left column].
The evidence of Toporama.
For the reach from the north end of Carey Lake to Baker Lake, my measurement at Toporama gave ~650 km, or ~400 miles (as described below; embarrassingly close to Moffatt’s value).
The answer.
Before the trip began, Moffatt had corrected the distance for deletion of the reach from Baker Lake to Chesterfield Inlet.
The distance to be covered was ~200 miles shorter than believed and so the pace was not as desultory as asserted in the accusatory literature.
I did not inspect the rest of either Moffatt’s journal or Pessl’s book for other distance figures. The question having been answered, namely whether Moffatt had used the correct figure while on the trip, these tasks have vanishingly small priority.

Appendix. Distance measurements.

I used the measuring feature at Toporama to obtain the following results.
1. For the reach from Black Lake to Baker Lake (the reach travelled by the Moffatt party), I used 18 overlapping pages, with several legs for each page (especially on river segments). The result was ~1,095 km (accurate to within, I believe, 40 km), or ~680 miles.
2. An independent measurement gave the distance from Baker Lake to Chesterfield inlet to be ~285 km, or ~177 miles.
3. The result for the distance from Black Lake to Chesterfield inlet is then ~1,380 km (~860 miles), close enough to Moffatt’s original figure of almost 900 miles.
4. Another independent measurement gave the river distance from the campsite on 29 August to Baker Lake to be ~410 km (~255 miles).
A consequence is that Kingsley was misled to state By August 29, …they had travelled barely half the distance or ~700 km (~450 miles). [Kingsley book, middle of p 188; also Up Here, lower right column on p 90].

Internal URLs.

Foreword and Forum.
Main text.
Appendix 1. Reality.
Appendix 3. Equipment.
Appendix 4. Experience.
Appendix 5. Pace and weather.
Appendix 6. Food.
Appendix 7. Schedule.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
Ancillary 1. Accusations.
Ancillary 2. Lanouette excerpt.
Ancillary 3. Tyrrell excerpt.
Ancillary 4. Distances.
Ancillary 5. Loose ends and the future.
Ancillary 6. Addenda.
Ancillary 7. Moffatt’s Tyrrell sources.
Ancillary 8. Evidence regarding the tragedy.

With the exception of quoted material, copyright to the above belongs to Allan Jacobs.

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