Major renovations were completed in early November 2017 but I expect that warts remain.
Thanks for your patience. Allan
Appendix 2. Holidays and Inquest.
1. Contrary to assertions, Arthur Moffatt did not die because the party had taken too many holidays and so later had to take risks to catchup on time….
2. Contrary to assertions, no inquest was held into Moffatt’s death.
For half of August, they voted to take “holidays” and went nowhere.
Source. Kingsley. Up Here (2012), p 90, bottom of the right column); also book (2014), middle of p 188); not mentioned in Lake (2013).
From the content of the assertion, I identified the source to be both Grinnell’s article (1988) and his book (1996).
Holidays on paddling trips.
In neither his article nor his book did Grinnell explain what he meant by holiday.
Neither did Kingsley explain what was meant by the term.
And so I ask. What is a reasonable definition of a holiday on a paddling trip?
My attempt at such a definition. We have no reason not to paddle but we stay in camp anyway; to be judgmental, we are plain lazy.
If one accepts this definition, it follows that
The Moffatt party took not a single holiday on the entire trip.
That is, every layover/nonpaddling day had a cause/reason… .
The reader who does not accept this definition is invited to devise another and to report her/his analysis of the evidence.
Grinnell’s article (1988) and his assertions regarding holidays.
Grinnell article, assertion 1.
On July 16 Moffatt called another of many holidays. [p 20, left column]
1. Camp was near the north end of Selwyn Lake; the portage from there crossed the height of land to the basin of the Dubawnt River. [Pessl, 14 July, p 38]
2. The corresponding Pessl comment: Spent the day in camp… [15 July, p 39].
Aside. The difference in dates 16 July [Grinnell] vs 15 July [Pessl] is inconsequential, except for the suggestion (confirmed by other evidence) that Grinnell did not keep a journal. The evidence suggests, to put the matter as gently as possible, that Grinnell’s memory failed him very badly on multiple occasions, that his imagination often took control of his pen.
3. Pessl lists this as a rest day. By this, I believe that he means a recovery day, largely forced, after completion of the brutal trip up the Chipman River. [Pessl, p 181].
4. Conjecture. Perhaps there was also an element of celebration, for it was downstream all the way from there.
I see no justification to call 15/16 July a holiday in any responsible use of the term.
Grinnell article, passage 2.
In the last days of August, now that we [the alleged United Bowman’s Association] were in command, we took more holidays than Moffatt had ever contemplated, averaging one every other day. When we reached the end of Dubawnt lake, we took another holiday to celebrate. [Grinnell article, p 21, left column].
Pessl’s response. I have no idea what he was imagining. [Pessl, p 168]
As well, Pessl presents evidence that the UBA never existed [Pessl, p 168]
The holiday/s parts of the passage are refuted by the evidence (presented below) of Pessl.
Grinnell article, passage 3.
It snowed during the first four days of September, and we took holidays on all four of them. [Grinnell article, p 21, right column].
Relevant passages from Pessl’s book.
1 September. … driving rain, joining the cold, windy day… Rain stopped and after running like crazy…to get warm, … [Pessl, p 115]
2 September. Another bitch of a day, worse than yesterday by a long shot. Wind, rain, cold from dawn to darkness with very few intervals of relative calm … terrific gale hit…the canoes were lifted off the ground. … It remained clear until we were ready to eat our fish pot soup for dinner and then it came down again…“piss pot”! [Pessl, pp 115&116]
3 September. Another day of the same hellish weather… Returned to camp as another shower dampened dinner. [Pessl, pp 117&118]
Comment. Part of the day was spent scouting the gorge above Grant Lake.
4 September. … After breakfast, we loaded in the snow, shot one rapid in the midst of a heavy flurry and then unloaded for the long portage [around the gorge]. [Pessl, p 119]
I see no justification to call any of these four days a holiday.
In particular, 4 September was a travel day.
And so I consider Grinnell’s statement to be untrue as applied to any of those four days.
Grinnell article, passage 4.
At the inquest held by the mounties, it was disclosed that we had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip. [Grinnell article, p 56, right column].
Comment. I address below the statement that the RCMP had held an inquest into Moffatt’s death. Here, I deal only with the holidays part.
Who disclosed that we had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip?
The RCMP certainly didn’t.
And no survivor, including Grinnell, records providing such information.
And I think it most unlikely that the RCMP went through the party’s journals; indeed, no survivor records providing his journal.
And if it had gone through the journals, the RCMP would have discovered that more than half of anything is untrue.
Grinnell’s we had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip has no basis in evidence known to me. Moreover, the accusation is refuted by the evidence (provided below) of Pessl.
Grinnell’s book (1996) and his assertions regarding holidays.
1. … we all voted to take a holiday to kill another [caribou]. [p 115].
2. … we voted for the holiday because we were out of meat. [p 134].
Comment. The day was spent hunting, fishing and foraging.
3. … yet another Holy Day, and another, and another … . [p 147].
4. … we took more and more holidays … . [p 158].
Comment 1. Should these four quotes not suffice, I record that my less-than-thorough search found a total of 19 pages with instances of holiday and variants, as follows:
pp 17, 41, 115, 117, 127, 134, 144, 147, 158, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 171, 173 and 244.
Comment 2. Grinnell includes, as holidays, days when the party stopped to replenish food supplies (pages 115 and 134, for example).
The evidence of Pessl.
Pessl’s book Barren Grounds … and correspondence with him.
The trip lasted 87 days (30 June to 24 September, inclusive); I note though that the party began paddling only on 3 July.
Pessl lists 33 nontravel days: one in June, 12 in July, 11 in August and 9 in September.
Comment. That figure of 33 includes three days not listed with the other 30 on pages 181 and 182, as follows: 15 and 16 September were recovery days immediately following the tragedy [Pessl, p 133]. The layover on 21 September was weather-induced [Pessl, p 139].
Pessl distinguishes between forced and voluntary nontravel days.
Forced nontravel days.
Example 1. Nicholson Rapids were scouted on 16 and 18 August; nothing could be done on 17 August but hunker down and wait out the weather. The cost was three days.
Example 2. Due to severe weather, the party was tent-bound on 1, 2 and 3 September, above Grant Lake.
Example 3. No paddler on earth, ever, could have travelled in the winds of 9 September (recorded as hurricane-force in Churchill, according to Grinnell).
Example 4. 15 and 16 September were recovery days after the tragedy.
Other nontravel days were imposed by adverse weather conditions (mostly wind and/or rain, including storms) and by the necessity to scout rapids. In no sense were any of these optional stopovers.
Voluntary nontravel days.
Only four nontravel days were voluntary. They were imposed for reasons of fatigue or other activities, hunting and photography for example. [Pessl, private correspondence]
Pessl’s list of the four voluntary nontravel days.
Day 1. 8 July.
After 5 days of walking and carrying with incidental puddle-hopping in the canoe, we took a welcome day off… [Pessl, p 32]
We decided to have a day of rest today. [Franck, in Pessl, p 32]
Comment. The five days 3 through 7 July required strenuous portaging.
Day 2. 15 July.
Spent the day in camp and enjoyed the idleness of reading, loafing unsuccessful fishing, canoe patching and very peaceful dozing outside. [Pessl, p 39]
Comment. That day saw the party enter the basin of the Dubawnt River, and so there was perhaps an element of celebration, for it was downstream for the rest of the trip. I note that Pessl records a shortage of food.
Day 3. 27 August.
Questionable winds and general early morning reluctance combined to form another beautiful day in camp. [Pessl, pp 104&105]
Another good day, but still a breeze from the south. We could have traveled, but Art declared a day of rest because he wanted to go over to the mainland and see what it is like; what animals he could get pictures of. [Franck, in Pessl, p 105]
Comment. And so the day was spent in an attempt to document the barrenlands; the result was not recorded.
Day 4. 29 August (Outlet Bay of Dubawnt Lake).
The leisurely breakfast of another “day off” saw us on our way to a prominent hill… We built a pretty big cairn atop the hill… Caught a few ”lakers” for tomorrow’s breakfast and enjoyed a good portion of fried roe for lunch. [Pessl, p 109]
Bruce and I cut up the caribou meat and cooked dinner for Art as he was still out with his camera. [Franck, in Pessl, p 110]
The difference between Grinnell’s count of holidays and Pessl’s.
Pessl gives not one holiday (by the too-lazy-to-paddle definition) for the entire trip, whereas Grinnell claims 44 or so holidays (by his unknown definition).
Investigation of a possibility. Perhaps Grinnell defined any nontravel day to be a holiday? Well, the numbers are well off, even by this unusual, indeed misleading, definition. Pessl documents a total of 33 nontravel days, whereas Grinnell claims at least 44 holidays.
Conclusion. There is no way to reconcile Grinnell’s assertion with Pessl’s record.
I prefer Pessl’s figure for three reasons:
(a) As I document both in the above and elsewhere, the evidence is that Grinnell did not keep a journal; that is, it appears that his figure is a ballpark estimate.
(b) A related comment. Only Pessl’s figure is documented.
(c) Grinnell’s evidence in other matters is seriously flawed, in part as documented above. In fact, I have learned to trust nothing written by him unless it is verified by a trustworthy source.
Grinnell’s statement that we had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip (and the like) is refutied by the evidence of Pessl.
Kingsley was misled by Grinnell.
Comment regarding weather-induced delays in September.
…the weather changed overnight, and the men were trapped on the land [Kingsley book, p 188] is by no means an accusation, but I decided to record the evidence.
Due to weather, the party was unable to travel on 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 September [Pessl, p 182] and also on 21 September [Pessl, p 139].
Pessl’s evidence for 1, 2 and 3 September is provided above.
The party travelled from 4 through 7 September inclusive [Pessl, pp 119-127], but was weather-bound again on 8 September. A severe storm (hurricane-force winds were recorded in Churchill, according to the Sports Illustrated article, not the most reliable source) struck on 9 September, and the party was unable to travel again also on 10 September. [Pessl, p 182].
The party travelled from 11 through 14 September inclusive.
15 and 16 September were recovery days after the tragedy [Pessl, p 133] and so the weather on those days is immaterial.
Fortunately, the weather changed shortly after the tragedy; that change perhaps saved the lives of all five.
Ever since we dragged each other out of that miserable tent on the cloudy morning of the 15th, we have been blessed with warm, sunny weather with a continual south wind to dry us, warm us, and, above all, renew our confidence in our chances for survival. [Pessl, pp 136&137].
The party was weather-bound for the last time on 21 September. [Pessl, p 139]
Non-travel days induced by the weather totaled seven of the 24 days in September; two of these (9 and 10 September) were occasioned by a storm the likes of which are not recorded in either J B Tyrrell’s or J W Tyrrell’s accounts of the 1893 trip.
The matter of the storm aside, on the whole the weather encountered by the Moffatt party was milder than in 1893.
Reference. Appendix 5. Pace and weather.
Conclusions and comments.
1. Grinnell’s use of the term holiday is misleading in even the most generous interpretation of the term.
2. Both Grinnell assertions
(a) …last days of August…averaging one every other day, and
(b) we had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip.
are refuted by the evidence of Pessl.
3. I don’t understand how anyone could take either assertion literally, for the evidence of Grinnell’s book itself (Kingsley’s primary source) shows that the party was well aware of the distance yet to be covered.
4. A possibility worth considering? Was Grinnell being mischievous in his claims regarding holidays, just as he was (I believe) when he claimed I was not the least experienced canoeist, but the most experienced, as noted in Appendix 4. Experience?
I suggest that this possibility not be rejected out of hand.
5. More importantly, Grinnell’s accusations (and so those of Kingsley, who was misled) are irrelevant to the tragedy, which had quite another cause.
Reference. Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
The alleged inquest into Moffatt’s death.
Reference. At the inquest held by the mounties… [Grinnell article, p 56, right column].
The four governments (more properly the coroner’s office or equivalent) of Canada, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Manitoba (four survivors were interviewed in Churchill) were unable to help me in my search for a record of an inquest into Moffatt’s death. Indeed, none confirmed even that such an inquest had been held.
In particular, Mathieu Sabourin (Library and Archives, Canada) kindly responded as follows (in part).
Based on the information provided in your request, I would imagine that if an investigation in the death of Arthur Moffatt did happen, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would have been involved. Therefore, I concentrated my research in the RCMP archival fonds (RG18).
Two series in that fonds might be of interest for your research. The first would be the “Criminal Investigation Branch” (RG18-F-2) and the other would be the “G Division” (R196-124-3). The latter refer to the RCMP Branch division associated to the Northwest Territories during the period you are researching. Here are the links to the two series:
Criminal Investigation Branch:
It is important to note that I did not locate any specific file related to Mr. Moffatt in either series.
My limited understanding of inquests has it that they are highly formal affairs. And so I expect that the person in charge would not have accepted (as evidence) transcripts of interviews with the survivors; surely s/he would have required the survivors to attend in person. But no survivor (including Grinnell) records attendance at such an inquest.
I note though that his assertion regarding the inquest had no known effect on the later literature.
I ask that the reader assess Grinnell’s assertion regarding the inquest in the light of the evidence presented above.
Foreword and Forum.
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.