Appendix 7. Schedule

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

Appendix 7. Schedule.

Timeline of the schedule-related Moffatt literature.

1959.
Publication of the Sports Illustrated articles. Issues of
9 March 1959 Man against the Barren Grounds (pp 68-76) and
16 March 1959 Danger and Sacrifice (pp 80-88).
Reader responses were posted at
http://www.si.com/vault/1959/04/06/604104/19th-hole-the-readers-take-over
Contents include the New York Times article, mentioned below, of 24 September 1955.
1988.
Publication of Grinnell’s article.
Grinnell, George J. Art Moffatt’s Wilderness Way to Enlightenment. Canoe, July 1988, pp 18-21 & 56.
1996.
Publication of Grinnell’s book (first edition).
Grinnell, George. A Death on the Barrens. A true story. Northern Books, Toronto (1996). The editions of 2005 and 2010 are believed not to have been used in the Moffatt literature.
1996.
1. Murphy, James.
Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, pp 5 & 11.
Online version. http://www.canoe.ca/AllAboutCanoes/book_deathbarrens.html
2. MacDonald, Andrew.
Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, pp 5 & 11.
2000.
3. The Tragic Trips…1955 – The Moffat Dubawnt River trip..
Che-Mun, Outfit 99, Winter 2000, pp 5&6.
2005.
Publication of two articles (identical at first glance) by Charlie Mahler. Contents include comments of Bob Thum and others.
Article 1. Down a Dead Man’s River, Che-Mun. Outfit 122, Autumn 2005, starting on page 4.
http://www.ottertooth.com/che-mun/122/chemun122.pdf
Article 2. Feature Story in the Advanced Paddler section at canoeing.com.
The formerly active URL.
http://www.canoeing.com/advanced/feature/deadmansriver.htm

Paddling in the barrenlands.

1. The purpose of the Tyrrell party (1893) was to explore lands never before seen by those of European descent.
2. The purpose of most recreational parties is to experience the barrenlands. But some who paddle there do so rather in order to prove something, an act that those who respect the barrenlands find distasteful; I provide an example later.
3. The purpose of the Moffatt party (1955) was none of these. Moffatt went there in order to document the barrenlands, by film, photos and journals. And so the party ad-libed, stopping to photograph the caribou and the artifacts left by the native people, to film the running of rapids, etc, as the occasion arose. But Moffatt was fully aware of the need to exit the barrenlands before the onset of winter, as evinced by his arrangements with the RCMP detachment at Baker Lake, the terminus of the trip.
4. With respect to the schedule, Moffatt had none but an arrival date in Baker Lake. That date was 15 September, with a grace period of seven days before the air search was started (indeed, it began on 22 September). And he had not one waypoint to be reached by a particular date.
5. The barrenlands are not Algonquin or Temagami or the BWCAW, for example, where a day-by-day schedule verges on being mandatory. No party paddling in the barrenlands ever had or could have had anything as detailed as a day-by-day schedule. Even the Tyrrell party of 1893 could not paddle every day; inclement weather forced even it to lay over on occasion.
When the wind is up, everyone stays in camp, especially tourists like us.
I challenge any reader to provide evidence
first that any recreational party ever to paddle in the barrens had a day-by-day schedule,
second that it stuck to that schedule for weeks.
And so I ask that the reader reflect on the assertions (documented later) of Murphy and MacDonald that Moffatt died because of lack of schedule.
6. The Moffatt party had no day-by day schedule, nor could it have had one. But it did have the essential ingredient, namely a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, as evinced by the following eleven independent sources.
The New York Times, the Manchester Ledger, the Boston Sunday Advertiser, the Winnipeg Tribune, the RCAF, the RCMP, the Baker Lake detachment of the RCMP, the Moffatt family (especially his wife Carol), participant Grinnell (in his book), participant Lanouette, and participant Pessl.
A request.
I ask that the reader assess the assertions that Moffatt died due to lack of schedule in the light of the evidence presented above.

Moffatt’s preparations.
Again, Moffatt had told the RCMP representative in Baker Lake to expect the party on 15 September.
I possess no evidence regarding what, if anything, Moffatt had obtained from the RCMP there.
Moffatt possessed the books of both Joseph B Tyrrell and James W Tyrrell, and
he had obtained copies of JBT’s maps (which show many features, including many rapids and falls), and
he had corresponded with JBT, and
he had JBT’s journal (which differs from his book).
I conclude that Moffatt was well prepared in general, in particular the weather to be expected in mid-September.

Some dates for the Tyrrell and Moffatt parties.
1. Entry-exit dates for Dubawnt Lake.
Tyrrell. 7-17 August, 1893
Moffatt. 21-27 August, 1955.
Reference. Pessl’s book, as documented in Sub-Appendix 1.
2. Arrival dates at Baker Lake.
The Tyrrell party reached Baker Lake on 2 September 1893 [Robertson, p 162], continued to the coast of Hudson Bay (at Chesterfield Inlet), then went down it to Churchill (the last part by sled) and beyond. Aside. Pessl [private communication] suggested this to be the source for Grinnell’s erroneous assertion that the Moffatt party was scheduled to arrive there on 2 September.
As noted above, Moffatt’s arrival was scheduled for 15 September,

Paddling the barrenlands and proving something.
1. Let the reader decide whether Moffatt had anything to prove.
He was an American pacifist (a Quaker) who volunteered pre December 1941 to serve in the British army as an ambulance driver. Under enemy fire in both Africa and Italy, literally for years, he took the wounded and the dying from the front of the battles to the aid stations.
2. Let Thum describe the mission of his 1966 party.
Moffatt is precisely why we took the trip… I thought experienced trippers could cover Tyrrell’s route safely and skillfully, which we did… Those guys had no business being up there… [Thum, in Che-Mun, Outfit 122, Autumn 2005]
To me, it is no great reach to suggest that the mission of the Thum party was to show up a dead man. And with respect to Thum’s safely and skillfully, which we did, it is perhaps not beside the point that Thum possessed information not available to Moffatt, in particular that the rapids (those where Moffatt died) above Marjorie Lake are dangerous in the extreme.

Summary of the evidence available to Moffatt’s accusers in the matter of the schedule.

Of particular interest to our understanding of the Murphy-MacDonald accusations that Moffatt died due to lack of schedule is
first that a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake was documented in all four of the earliest publications regarding the tragedy, and
second that all four publications were easily available to every accuser in the matter.
1. The Sports Illustrated article (1959) contains the two passages
a week behind…schedule [SI article, upper right column on page 76; dated 8 August] and nine days behind schedule [SI article, lower right column on p 76; dated between 15 and 18 August].
2. That same SI article contains the following passage from the New York Times, dated 24 September 1955. Planes flew over the tundra…looking for a trace of a six-man expedition. The group was a week overdue… [SI article, top left of p 71]
3. Grinnell’s Canoe article (1988) contains the passage late in the season and behind schedule. The passage is likely an editorial comment, but it nevertheless appears in the Moffatt literature.
4. Especially important is the evidence provided in Grinnell’s book (1966), for the first schedule-related accusations were published in the Murphy-MacDonald reviews of that book.
There, Grinnell oscillates between assertions
that there was only a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake and
that there was a schedule more prescriptive than an arrival date (say a date for exiting Dubawnt Lake, not that the Moffatt part had such).
But Grinnell always insists that the party had a date for arrival in Baker Lake; indeed, he gave the date for that arrival. I challenge the reader to find a contrary remark in his book.
Nevertheless, in their reviews of Grinnell’s book, James Murphy and Andrew MacDonald asserted that Arthur Moffatt died due to lack of schedule. Unfortunately for the reputation of a person unable to respond, their assertions were accepted, indeed promulgated, in the accusatory literature that followed.
5. The following items provide details of the evidence in those four publications.

The evidence of the New York Times article.
The following is the full text; only a summary was provided above.
On Sept. 24, 1955, the following dispatch appeared in “The New York Times”:
“PRINCE ALBERT, SASK. Planes flew over the tundra of the Arctic region today looking for a trace of a six-man expedition. The group was a week overdue on a 900-mile canoe trip.
Led by a veteran woodsman, Arthur Moffatt, 36, of Norwich, Vt., the explorers had provisions for 80 days. They have been gone 85 days, but officials said there were deer and elk in the area that the men could shoot for food.
The group left Stony Rapids, Sask., en route to Baker Lake, 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle.
[Sports Illustrated article of 1959, top of p 71]
Analysis.
What interpretation of the passage The group was a week overdue… is possible but that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, but was a week overdue?
Conclusion.
The evidence of the New York Times article, alone and in itself, refutes every accusation that the Moffatt party had no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake. In particular, it refutes the assertions of Murphy and MacDonald (Moffatt’s initial accusers in the matter), who made no mention of this evidence. Neither did any later accuser in the matter mention this evidence.
Lesser matters.
1. 24 September is the publication date of the NYT article, not necessarily the date when it was written. By chance, it is also the date when the survivors reached Baker Lake.
2. Arrival in Baker Lake was scheduled for 15 September, with a grace period of a week before an air search was begun. Indeed, that search was begun on 22 September.
3. A minor point regarding the trip distance (the 900 miles).
Before the trip started (but after writing his Prospectus, provided on page 71 of the SI article), Moffatt decided to exit at Baker Lake (rather than continue to Chesterfield Inlet), thereby shortening the trip by ~200 miles (~300 km). That is, the figure of 900 miles for the distance between Black Lake and Baker Lake (given in the NYT article and elsewhere in the Moffatt literature) is incorrect.
Reference. Ancillary 4. Distances.
4. An even lesser point: deer means caribou; elk is risible.

FIX following

With one exception (Grinnell, need it be said?, who insists on 2 September), all sources agree that the arrival date was 15 September, with a grace period of a week before the air search would start (as mentioned in several of them). In fact, the air search began on 22 September.

The accusations of the Sports Illustrated editor.

Introduction.
Comment 1. Nowhere in Moffatt’s journal (possessed in full by the Sports Illustrated editor) exists there a reference to a day-by-day schedule.
Comment 2. Nowhere in Moffatt’s journal (possessed in full by the Sports Illustrated editor) exists there a reference to a waypoint to be reached by some date, even an approximate one. The fact is rather that the Moffatt party had only endpoints, namely Black Lake and Baker Lake.
Comment 3. Contrary to what one might gather from the two assertions of the editor, the Moffatt party was not following the schedule of the Tyrrell party.
(a) Barrenlands weather forbids a day-by-day schedule. Even the Tyrrell party of 1893 had no such schedule; even it had to stay in camp on occasion.
(b) Given its mission to document the barrenlands, the Moffatt party paused in order to photograph the caribou and the items left by the native people, to film the running of rapids, etc.
Comment 4. But, as documented by the 11 sources provided above, Moffatt had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake. Noteworthy among these is the New York Times, published in that same Sports Illustrated article.
Comment 5.
A major difference is that the Tyrrell party continued on the Dubawnt-Thelon to Chesterfield Inlet, whereas Moffatt had planned from the beginning of the trip to exit at Baker Lake, 300 km upstream from the inlet.

Assertion 1 of the Sports Illustrated editor.

He [Moffatt] was a week behind Tyrrell’s schedule. [SI article, upper right column on p 76, 8 August].
What interpretation of this passage is possible but that Moffatt was following the schedule of the Tyrrell party of 1893, and that he was seven days or so behind it?
A request.
I ask that the reader assess, in the light of this evidence, the later assertions of Murphy and MacDonald that Moffatt died due to lack of schedule.

Assertion 2 of the Sports Illustrated editor.

Already nine days behind schedule, the Moffatt party races against winter on the Barren Grounds. The days grow colder, provisions dwindle, game grows scarce. In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [SI article; bottom right of page 76, appearing between the Moffatt journal entries for 15 and 18 August].
Comment 1.
I agree that the days were growing colder (on average), and also that the Moffatt party was travelling in the barrenlands.
Comment 2.
The items provisions dwindle and game grows scarce are addressed in
Appendix 6. Food.
Comment 3.
The items races against winter, desperate haste and ultimate chance are addressed in the following.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
And so we are left with the nine days behind schedule part of the assertion.
What is to be understood from this phrase but
first that the Moffatt party had scheduled a date to reach an unidentified waypoint by 15-18 August,
second that it was nine days behind schedule for arrival at that point?
Response.
The evidence known to me has it rather that the Moffatt party had no such detailed schedule, that it had not one waypoint, that it had only a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
Request.
I ask that the reader assess, in the light of this evidence, the later assertions of Murphy and MacDonald that Moffatt died due to lack of schedule.
Summary regarding the schedule part of Assertion 1.
The SI editor represented the record of Moffatt party (1955) to be that of the Tyrrell party (1893).
But the Moffatt party had no day-by-day schedule. Neither could it have had one, for even the Tyrrell party of 1893 was forced to lay over on occasion.
In this connection, I suggest it not beside the point that theSI editor redacted the phrase Following Tyrrell’s route from Moffatt’s journal entry for 13 September. [Sports Illustrated, page 82, lower right column].

The accusations of Murphy and MacDonald.

Comment. These accusations were made in what were billed as reviews of Grinnell’s book (1996).

Preliminary comments regarding Grinnell’s publications and the matter of a schedule.

1. For reasons that are convincing to me, I trust nothing written by Grinnell unless it is confirmed by sources that I believe reliable.
2. And I have learned to trust no other publication of the Moffatt literature except
Moffatt’s journal itself (explicitly not the edited versions provided in the SI article; I refer the reader to the redaction mentioned in the previous item), and the writings of participants Franck, Lanouette, LeFavour and Pessl.
3. As best I can tell (he is remarkably uninformative regarding the matter), Grinnell uses the term schedule in four senses:
(a) a date only for arrival in Baker Lake,
(a) an arrival date plus something more prescriptive (say even as little as a date to exit Dubawnt Lake),
(c) the record of the Tyrrell-Tyrrell trip of 1893, and
(d) participant Franck’s registration date.
But he fails to distinguish between them.
4. Grinnell, like Murphy and MacDonald who wrote later, failed to explain what he meant by the term schedule. And that failure matters, for schedule could have several interpretations, as discussed above.
But Grinnell’s comments (as recorded below) make no sense if he meant by that term only a date for arrival in Baker Lake. He certainly had in mind (at least at times) something more prescriptive.
5. Grinnell’s article and his book (much more the latter) were the only primary sources (the writing of participants) available to the general public for accusations regarding the schedule.
6. I exclude Moffatt’s journal
first because the full item is not publicly available,
second because the evidence suggests that the excerpts provided in the Sports Illustrated article were selected to make points detrimental to Moffatt.
Worse, some of those excerpts were severely edited; the prime example (mentioned above) is Moffatt’s last journal entry, that for 13 September.
7. Some Grinnell remarks appear to have been misrepresented. And it appears that selective use was made of Grinnell’s evidence, to Moffatt’s detriment. And some accusers in the matter added material with no basis in evidence known to me.

The evidence of Grinnell’s Canoe article (1988).

Grinnell, George J.
Art Moffatt’s Wilderness Way to Enlightenment. Canoe, July 1988, pp 18-21 & 56.
Excerpt 1. An editorial (not a Grinnell) comment.
…late in the season and behind schedule, they met disaster. [p 18]
Response.
Excerpt 1 comes from the Canoe editor’s Introduction, which mentions the Sports Illustrated article. The unidentified source for the behind schedule part of the assertion can have been only the SI editor’s nine days behind schedule, which I discuss above. That is, the Canoe editor was familiar with the contents of the SI article, but s/he made no mention of its contents as they affect those of Grinnell’s article.
Excerpt 2.
We demanded a schedule. Moffatt’s idea of learning to live with nature meant traveling at a rather leisurely pace, but on July 18th, we bowmen…threatened to go on strike if we weren’t provided with a schedule. Moffatt replied that the wind did not blow on schedule. [p 20, top right].
Response 1.
Upstream travel on the Chipman River was brutal and so the suggestion that the pace was leisurely on that leg is, I gotta say it, absurd. And how could any party, ever, have had a schedule for that leg?
Response 2.
Given that the height of land was crossed only on 17 July [Pessl, p 43], Grinnell’s assertion that, on the very next day (18 July), the bowmen…threatened to go on strike if we weren’t provided with a schedule is well beyond strange, to me.
Again, how was a detailed schedule possible for that reach?
How could the party have gone much faster in the difficult, trying circumstances up to and including 17 July?
Response 3.
Thereafter (until 3 August, when the group held a meeting and decided unanimously to increase the pace), the pace was not leisurely, so that Moffatt could learn to live with nature, as Grinnell asserted.
Rather, travel was slow in this leg largely so that Moffatt and Pessl could film and photograph; these were the very purposes of the trip!
And it is not beside the point that, on 3 August, the party decided unanimously to increase the pace.
Reference. Appendix 5. Pace.
Response 4.
Moffatt’s remark about the wind is addressed below.
Excerpt 3..
… we had one last dispute over the schedule…. [p 21, middle of the left column].
Summary.
Excerpt 1 (an editorial insertion) asserts that there was a schedule
Excerpt 2, due to Grinnell, asserts that there was no schedule.
Excerpt 3, due to Grinnell, is ambiguous.
Conclusion.
Grinnell’s article itself provides what I assess to be weak evidence that there was no schedule.
But it provides also the editorial assertion that there was a schedule.

The evidence of Grinnell’s book (1996).

Comment 1.
Again, the term schedule is far too vague, for it could mean only a date for arrival in Baker Lake, or a day-by-day schedule, or anything between those extremes.
But the distinction is vitally important for an informed discussion
both of the evidence of Grinnell’s book
and of the accusations made by Murphy and MacDonald in their reviews of that book.
I use the term arrival schedule for a date to arrive in Baker Lake, nothing more.
And I use the term prescriptive schedule for a plan that includes something in addition to an arrival date, be it ever so humble (say only a date for exiting Dubawnt Lake, not that the Moffatt party had any such date).
In both his article and his book, Grinnell unnecessarily contributed to the confusion by failing to distinguish possible interpretations of the term schedule. Murphy and MacDonald continued in the tradition established by Grinnell.
Comment 2.
I had thought that everyone who had paddled in the barrenlands (as had one of Moffatt’s accusers in the matter) knew that the wind forbids the extreme case of a prescriptive schedule, namely a day-by-day schedule. Even the Tyrrell party of 1893 was forced to stay in camp on several occasions.
Caution.
In the writings of the other participants, I found no confirmation of the following 11 comments of Grinnell. Again, I have learned to place no confidence in anything he writes unless it is confirmed by reliable sources. But, although I distrust all Grinnell statements that follow, I must provide them because were the only items (I hesitate to call them evidence) used by Murphy and MacDonald.
Item 1.
Although we were far behind schedule right from the beginning… [Grinnell book, p 17].
And so there was a prescriptive schedule right from the beginning of the trip.
But what then is one to make of Grinnell’s We demanded a schedule. [Grinnell article, p 20, top right]?
Does the evidence of Grinnell’s book then not refute the assertions of his own article?
Item 2.
(a) …what are your thoughts about Art’s schedule? [Grinnell book, p 57, LeFavour speaking].
(b) What schedule! [Lanouette’s reply].
Interpretation.
LeFavour suggested that there existed a prescriptive schedule, but the party was not sticking to it; Lanouette was being sarcastic.
Item 3.
I wanted the assurance that we would eventually reach … Baker Lake on September 2nd, as planned, and a schedule seemed to me to be the best way of guaranteeing that. [p 58].
(a) Grinnell has changed his tune. Now there was no schedule, only a planned date for arrival in Baker Lake. That is, Grinnell wanted some more prescriptive.
Aside. 2 September is wrong by 13 days.
(b) Pessl’s question Is it just a coincidence that Tyrrell arrived Baker Lake on Sept. 2? [private correspondence] alerted me to the possibility that Grinnell had confused (in his writing) dates for the Tyrrell trip with dates for the Moffatt trip; I now believe such to be the case. But I insist that the Moffatt party had a date for arrival in Baker Lake, namely 15 September, as I describe below, in detail.
And so Grinnell’s remark I wanted the assurance that we would eventually reach … Baker Lake on September 2nd, as planned,… has no relevance to the Moffatt trip.
And so I am baffled as to why it was made.
Item 4.
…we bowmen…would go on strike if we were not given a schedule. [p 62].
Interpretation. No prescriptive schedule.
Item 5.
We bowmen were tired of being governed by the anarchy of wind and rain… [p 62].
This is a side issue, but what is going on here?
What can one do about the wind, in particular, except hunker down and wait it out?
That is exactly what Moffatt meant by his remark …the wind did not blow on schedule…; everyone who has paddled in the barrens (as had at least one accuser in the matter of the schedule) knows that fact and its consequence: When the wind is up, you stay in camp.
And so I fail to understand why Grinnell made this remark.
Item 6.
This remark, which has no relevance to the Moffatt trip, is included only for completeness.
On Art’s previous Albany trips, things had been run on schedule. [p 68].
Comment. I know of no evidence that supports this assertion of Grinnell. But if one accepts it, then
Moffatt had used a something like a prescriptive schedule previously.
Again, Moffatt could not possibly have had such a schedule for the Dubawnt trip; barrenlands trips differ considerably from those farther south (like the Albany), because no trees means no shelter from the wind.
Item 7.
Skip…seemed to have desired a more civilized schedule, something along the lines of shift work at General Motors…but Art only smiled sweetly and sipped his tea. [p 146].
Interpretation. Pessl wanted a more prescriptive schedule but Moffatt did not have one.
Item 8.
In the last two months, we had fallen about a month behind schedule. [p 162, ~29 August].
Grinnell changed his tune again. Now there was again a prescriptive schedule, for the party had fallen…behind schedule..
The reference is likely to the remark in item 3 above [p 17; 18 July], but I fail to understand why it was made on ~29 August. To put the matter another way, how are Grinnell’s remarks of ~six weeks earlier relevant on ~29 August?
A relatively minor point. The month estimate is far outside any constraint imposed by reality. Even with time lost due to the tragedy and to the weather, the party arrived in Baker Lake on 24 September, 9 days later than scheduled (two days after the end of the grace period), somewhat less than the month claimed by Grinnell.
Item 9.
…in the early days of the trip, when it first became apparent that we were falling behind schedule… [p 163].
Again. There was a prescriptive schedule from the very beginning of the trip.
Item 10.
On p 166, Grinnell again mentions (indirectly, again incorrectly) an arrival date of 2 September.
Item 11.
…the impending disaster which Art and the rest of us were so obviously courting. [p 167].
Comments.
There was nothing obvious about the tragedy, even afterward. The tragedy was not caused by falling behind schedule as Grinnell suggests. The cause was rather incorrect information provided by J B Tyrrell. It is perhaps then not beside the point that, as I describe elsewhere in this document, Grinnell redacted evidence in his version of the Sports Illustrated condensation of Lanouette’s journal for 14 September. [Grinnell book, 1966, p 202]
Conclusion. This accusation made of Moffatt has no basis in any evidence known to me.
Reference. The assertions of James Murphy and Andrew MacDonald.

http://www.canoe.ca/AllAboutCanoes/book_deathbarrens.html

Summary of the schedule-related evidence available to Murphy and MacDonald.
Given that I document fully that evidence in the above, perhaps I may be excused if I provide here only a summary.
1.
The Sports Illustrated article of 1959 provides the passages
He [Moffatt] was a week behind Tyrrell’s schedule [SI article, upper right column on page 76, 8 August] and
Already nine days behind schedule [SI article, bottom right column on p 76, 15-18 August].
What interpretation of these passages is possible but that Moffatt party had a day-by-day schedule?
2.
The New York Times article of 24 September 1955 provides the passage Planes flew over the tundra…looking for a trace of a six-man expedition. The group was a week overdue on a 900-mile canoe trip.
What interpretation of this passage is possible but that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake?
3.
Grinnell’s Canoe article (1988) itself provides weak evidence that there was no schedule.
But it provides also the editorial assertion behind schedule, which evinces that there was a prescriptive schedule of some sort.
4.
In his book, Grinnell asserted
first there was a prescriptive schedule (something in addition to an arrival date in Baker Lake),
then there was only a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake,
and finally there was again a prescriptive schedule.
But Grinnell never deviated from his assertion that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
A request.
I ask that the reader keep these evidences in mind as I discuss the assertions of Murphy and MacDonald.

The assertions of James Murphy and Andrew MacDonald

were made in what were billed as reviews of the book Grinnell, George. A Death on the Barrens. A true story. Northern Books, Toronto (1996).
Perhaps I should mention that my use of the term billed is conscious.
Let me begin with the terms a planned itinerary and a pragmatic plan of travel used by Murphy and MacDonald respectively. Later, their editor explained their editor that they meant by these terms they meant what the rest of us would call a schedule.
So far so good, but what did Murphy and MacDonald mean by a scheduledo?
They failed to inform us, and that failure matters.

Comments.
1. In this context, schedule could mean
as much as a day-by-day schedule, or
or as little as a date for arrival in Baker Lake, or
anything between those two extremes.
2. Given that Moffatt was unable to respond, did not common decency demand that Murphy and MacDonald explain what they meant when they asserted that he died because of lack of schedule?
3. By denying that the Moffatt party lacked a schedule, did not Murphy and MacDonald suggest that Moffatt’s schedule amounted to something like “we’ll arrive in Baker Lake when we get there”?
4. But surely an essential ingredient of a schedule is a date for arrival in Baker Lake.
By asserting that the Moffatt party lacked schedule, do not Murphy and MacDonald then deny that the Moffatt party lacked a schedule for arrival there?
The eleven sources provided above beg leave to differ.

The schedule-related evidence of Grinnell.
If I may, I remind the reader
first that the articles of Murphy and MacDonald were billed as reviews of Grinnell’s book,
second that Grinnell asserted repeatedly and consistently there that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, although he gave the date incorrectly, for reason known only to him.
Conclusion.
The evidence of Grinnell’s book, the only source used by Murphy and MacDonald, alone and in itself, refutes their assertion that the Moffatt party lacked a schedule.
And so Murphy and MacDonald failed Moffatt in particular, and the paddling community as a whole.

The assertions of James Murphy.
Lack of food, proper equipment and most importantly, lack of a planned itinerary, contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise. [Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, pp 5 & 11.
1. I call these assertions because Murphy provided no evidence in support of them.
2. In passing, I note that Murphy devoted much of a paragraph to a discussion of whether Moffatt was a bodhisatva. At best, Moffatt was a cracked bodhisatva, a partially enlightened being with a fatal flaw. One who is doomed to repeat his mistakes in an endless cycle….
Opinion.
Murphy could have made better use of that space by providing evidence in support of his assertions.

Murphy assertion 1. Lack of food.
Murphy provided no evidence in support of the lack of food assertion provided above.
In rebuttal, I point out that Grinnell’s book (Murphy’s only source) documents an abundance of food in the seven weeks before Moffatt’s death.
Food from the land consisted of five caribou, many fish (three species), many ptarmigan, plus mushrooms and blueberries (the latter two obtained only earlier in the period).
Grinnell book documents also that, in those seven weeks,
the Moffatt party had provisions remaining from the initial supply, and
it acquired a massive resupply of provisions from the cache, this on 7 September.
Perhaps the stuffed evidence of Pessl’s book is relevant here.
22 August. I was not feeling too well today, probably from eating too much caribou yesterday, … [Franck, in Pessl, p 99].
28 August. We … were so full we could hardly move. [Franck, in Pessl, p 108]
30 August. …I had prepared such a huge breakfast that none of us could have moved much further than the tents anyway. I felt as if I would have crashed right through the bottom of the canoe and sunk like a stone if we would have been loading. [Pessl, p 110]
This not known to Murphy: On 14 September, the day that Moffatt died, the party had so much caribou meat on board that it had no need to hunt again; and to that supply it added 20 lb of lake trout caught at lunch. [LeFavour]
A request.
I ask that the reader assess Murphy’s assertion that lack of food contributed to Moffatt’s death in the light of the evidence provided in
Appendix 6. Food.

Murphy assertion 2. Lack of proper equipment.
Murphy provided no evidence in support of his assertion that lack of proper equipment contributed to his
[Moffatt’s] demise.
I believe that George Luste, a professional colleague for four decades and a friend who helped me get started in paddling, would have been much angered to learn that his equipment recommendations for paddlers circa 1996 had been used to defame Moffatt, who died in 1955.
A request.
I ask that the reader assess Murphy’s assertion that lack of proper equipment contributed to Moffatt’s death in the light of the evidence provided in Appendix 3. Equipment.

Murphy assertion 3. Lack of a planned itinerary.
Demystification. Later, Murphy’s editor explained implicitly that by a planned itinerary, Murphy meant what most of us would call a schedule: Their lack of schedule meant they took risks to catchup on time… [Che-Mun, Outfit 99, Winter 2000, pp 5&6].
Murphy provided no evidence in support of his assertion …lack of a planned itinerary, contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise.
A request.
I ask that the reader assess Murphy’s assertion that lack of a schedule was partially responsible for Moffatt’s death in the light of
1. The evidences of the Sports Illustrated article, namely the two phrases a week behind Tyrrell’s schedule and Already nine days behind schedule.
2. The evidence of the New York Times article, namely that the Moffatt party was a week overdue.
3. The evidence of Grinnell’s Canoe article, namely the editorial comment that the party was behind schedule.
4. And most importantly of all, the evidence of Grinnell’s book (the very subject of Murphy’s review), namely Grinnell’s many statements that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.

The assertions of Andrew MacDonald.
I call these assertions because MacDonald provided no evidence in support of them.

MacDonald assertion 1.
As the summer-length trip wore on, and the progress of their three Chestnut canoes lapsed further and further behind schedule… [Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, bottom of p 5.]
MacDonald’s unidentified sources for the phrase behind schedule were likely the following passages.
1. Although we were far behind schedule right from the beginning… [Grinnell book, p 17].
2. In the last two months, we had fallen about a month behind schedule. [Grinnell book, p 162, ~29 August].
Interpretation.
The Moffatt party had a schedule more prescriptive than a date for arrival in Baker Lake, but it was behind that schedule.

MacDonald assertion 2.
One of the implications of a quasi-religious resistance to a pragmatic plan of travel was the death of Arthur Moffat. [Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, last paragraph on p 11.]
Comments.
1. On comparing the two assertions, one sees that MacDonald explained (as did later his editor explicitly), that a pragmatic plan of travel means what most of us would call a schedule.
2. I am still trying to decide whether the two assertions are compatible.
3. As a service to the reader, I decided not to repeat the evidence provided above in refutation of the corresponding assertion of Murphy; I request only that the reader skim that evidence.
4. But I must state that, like Murphy’s article, MacDonald’s article was billed as a review of Grinnell’s book.
A request.
I ask that the reader assess MacDonald’s assertion that lack of a schedule was partially responsible for Moffatt’s death in the light of
1. The evidences of the Sports Illustrated article, namely the two phrases a week behind Tyrrell’s schedule and Already nine days behind schedule.
2. The evidence of the New York Times article, namely that the Moffatt party was a week overdue.
3. The evidence of Grinnell’s Canoe article, namely the editorial comment that the party was behind schedule.
4. And most importantly of all, the evidence of Grinnell’s book (the very subject of MacDonald’s review), namely the many statements that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.

Discussion.

The evidence relevant to Murphy’s assertion
Lack of food…contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise
is provided in Appendix 6. Food.
The evidence relevant to Murphy’s assertion
Lack of…proper equipment…contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise
is provided in Appendix 3. Equipment.
That leaves the assertions of Murphy and MacDonald that Moffatt died because of lack of schedule, and variants thereof.
1.
Murphy and MacDonald used the term schedule vaguely, loosely and inconsistently, failing to distinguish possibilities such as
(a) Something like we’ll arrive in Baker Lake when we get there.
(b) Only a date for arrival for arrival in Baker Lake.
(c) A day-by-day schedule such as many parties use in Algonquin, Temagami, the BWCAW and the like.
(d) Something between the extremes of items (b) and (c), perhaps a week-by-week schedule, or a date to enter Dubawnt Lake.
(e) Or whatever else that was in their minds (they declined to be specific).
With respect to item (c), I decided it necessary to point yet again that no party (recreational or professional or whatever), ever had or could have had a day-by-day schedule for travel in the barrenlands. The vagaries of the weather, especially the wind, forbid any such schedule. Even the Tyrrell party of 1893 was weather-bound on occasion.
The reader might reflect on the fact that one of Murphy and MacDonald had paddled the Morse River (a tributary of the Back River) and so was no stranger to the barrenlands and its winds.
Additional material is provided in Sub-Appendix 3. Barrenlands paddling in general and the Moffatt party’s response to the wind.
With respect to the more important item (b) regarding of a date for arrival in Baker Lake, I point out again that neither Murphy nor MacDonald mentioned any of the evidences available to them, namely
(i) the two evidences of the Sports Illustrated article, or
(ii) the evidence of the New York Times article, or
(iii) the evidence of Grinnell’s Canoe article, or
(iv) most importantly of all, the evidence of Grinnell’s book.
Every one of those sources attests that there existed, at the very least, a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
Perhaps their failure to mention the evidences of items (i) through (iii) speaks to their failure to search the literature available to them at the time. And so perhaps it speaks to their diligence, to their strength of character, to their commitment to get the facts straight before making accusations of someone, indeed a fellow paddler, unable to respond.
With respect to item (iv), namely the evidence of Grinnell’s book, I ask that the reader reflect on the evidence provided there for the existence of a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, and so the implications of that evidence for the Murphy-MacDonald assertions that Moffatt died due to lack of schedule.
2.
More generally, what did Murphy and MacDonald mean (they did not explain) when they asserted that Moffatt died because of lack of schedule?
(a) Were they asserting that the party had no prescriptive schedule (the extreme case is a day-by-day one) and that the lack thereof was responsible for Moffatt’s death?
If so, they are quite wrong, for the second part is false. Moffatt died solely because he had been misled by the advice of J B Tyrrell.
Reference. Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
(b) Or were they asserting that the party had no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, and that the lack thereof was responsible for Moffatt’s death?
If so, they are quite wrong, for the first part is false (as evinced by the two items in the Sports Illustrated article, the item in the New York Times article, the item in Grinnell’s Canoe article, and most importantly of all the multiple evidences of Grinnell’s book, the very subject of their reviews).
And so the second part is also false.
(c) Or did they prefer to make vague, unsubstantiated accusations that lack of planning was responsible for Moffatt’s death? Only Murphy and MacDonald can inform us of their intentions. They didn’t do so at the time and they are unlikely to help us now.

Summary.
1. The articles of Murphy and MacDonald were billed as reviews of Grinnell’s book (1996). I use the term billed because both authors went well beyond writing reviews, in that they asserted (they provided no evidence) that Moffatt died in part because of lack of schedule.
2. No party ever had, no party could ever have had, a highly prescriptive schedule for travel in the barrens. Even the Tyrrell party of 1893 had no such schedule; even it was sidelined on occasion.
From the extensive paddling literature available in 1996, Murphy and MacDonald should have known that a prescriptive schedule is not possible in the barrens. Moreover, one of them had paddled at least once in the barrenlands and so must have known that a day-by-day schedule is not possible there.
3. What evidence did Murphy and MacDonald provide to substantiate their claims that Moffatt died because the party lacked a planned itinerary or a pragmatic plan of travel or a schedule?
The answer: None. Murphy and MacDonald provided only assertions.
And so I ask: Did Moffatt, a fellow paddler and one unable to defend himself, not deserve that evidence of his guilt be presented?
4. An essential ingredient of a schedule is surely an arrival date; that is, how can one have a schedule but not have an arrival date? As evinced by the multiple sources documented above (most importantly Grinnell’s book, the very subject of their reviews), Moffatt had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, but neither Murphy nor McDonald mentioned any of this evidence.
And so the schedule-related assertions of Murphy and MacDonald are refuted by the evidence of their only source, Grinnell’s book!
5. The cause of Moffatt’s death had nothing to do with those asserted by Murphy and MacDonald. To be explicit, Arthur Moffatt did not die because the party lacked food, or proper equipment, or a schedule (aka a planned itinerary and a pragmatic plan of travel).
Reference. Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

An unfortunate consequence.
Murphy and MacDonald misled their own editor to assert the following:
Moffat, a seasoned traveller, took a group of young men on a slow and undisciplined trip down the Dubawnt. Their lack of schedule meant they took risks to catchup on time and Moffatt died of exposure after they dumped in a large rapid they did not scout. [Che-Mun, Outfit 99, Winter 2000, pp 5&6].
The tragedy is mentioned also on p 4, but with a slip of the pen.
The fact of the matter, not known to the editor, is rather that Moffatt had been misled by the advice of J B Tyrrell, advice that had proved accurate for eleven weeks previously; otherwise, Moffatt would not have trusted it in the afternoon of 14 September 1955.
Reference. Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

The schedule-related assertions of Murphy and Macdonald, confronted by the evidence of Grinnell’s book.
Reminder. Grinnell’s book was the sole source used by both Murphy and MacDonald.
Reminder. Murphy’s assertions that lack of food and lack of proper equipment were also responsible for Moffatt’s death are addressed in the following.
Appendix 6. Food.
Appendix 3. Equipment.
Summary of the schedule-related evidence of Grinnell’s book.
As I document in the paragraph The evidence of Grinnell’s book (1996) (above),
Grinnell asserted
first that there was a prescriptive schedule (something in addition to an arrival date in Baker Lake),
then that there was only a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake,
finally that there was again a prescriptive schedule.
And so the evidence of Grinnell’s book is garbled, indeed self-contradictory, regarding the existence of a prescriptive schedule.
But Grinnell never wavered in one respect. Grinnell repeatedly and consistently asserted that was a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
Nevertheless, in their reviews of that very book, Murphy and MacDonald asserted (provided no evidence) that Moffatt’s death was due to lack of schedule.

Summary of the accusations made by Murphy and MacDonald.
The unstated but clear substance of the schedule-related accusations (I omit discussion here of Murphy’s accusations regarding food and equipment, equally valid) is that the Moffatt party wasted time early in the trip, and so later it dashed down the river, so pressed to reach Baker Lake before freeze-up that Moffatt could not afford the time to scout the rapids where he died.
Did a dead person, being unable to respond to them, not deserve that these accusations be evinced, rather than merely asserted?
Murphy
denied that the Moffatt party had a schedule, one must assume by default a schedule of any kind, specifically an arrival date.
Murphy suggested that Moffatt was responsible for his own death. The accusation is refuted by the evidence (provided above) of Grinnell’s book, Murphy’s only source.
More generally, who is Murphy that he assume the right so to judge Moffatt?
MacDonald’s assertions are equally valid.
Both Murphy and MacDonald
suggested that Moffatt realised only very late that the party had get out fast in order to escape freeze-up, and so he threw caution to the winds, being unable to afford time to scout the rapids where he died.
Their accusations are refuted by the evidence of their only source, Grinnell’s book. Even today, twenty years after the publication of the Murphy-MacDonald articles, no evidence (as distinct from assertions) has surfaced that the Moffatt party took risks to catchup on time because of a lack of schedule.
Opinion.
In their reviews of Grinnell’s book, both Murphy and MacDonald ignored evidence (presented there) that refutes their assertions.
Comment.
Their accusations are known to have led at least one later person to make an incorrect statement.

Conclusions.
Eleven sources attest that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake. I refer the reader to the paragraph The Moffatt party had no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake? below.
In particular, in his book (the sole source used by Murphy and MacDonald), Grinnell asserts repeatedly that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake. As well, he asserts several times that the party had a schedule more prescriptive than an arrival date.
Nevertheless, Murphy and MacDonald (in their reviews of that very book), denied that the party had a schedule of any kind, one gathers even so much as an arrival date.
The Moffatt party did not take risks to catchup on time because of a lack of schedule as asserted by Murphy and MacDonald. In particular, the Moffatt party did not panic and so run the fatal rapids without a scout. Indeed, as I remark also elsewhere, the only two dumps of the entire trip occurred in the fatal rapids. And, on the very day that he died, the party completed the portage around the entire rapids immediately above the fatal rapids. Do Murphy and MacDonald (and many others) really expect us to believe that, a few hours later, Moffatt suddenly realised that winter was fast approaching and so decided to forgo a scout?
The cause of Moffatt’s death was not lack of a planned itinerary, or lack of a pragmatic plan of travel, or lack of schedule, as alleged by Murphy and MacDonald. For that matter, neither was the cause lack of food or lack of proper equipment as alleged also by Murphy.
The evidence is rather that Moffatt party exercised due caution at all times, for example in the rapids below Nicholson Lake, those immediately below Dubawnt Lake, those immediately above Wharton Lake, and in particular those between Wharton Lake and Marjorie Lake.
The evidence is rather that the fatal rapids were run without a scout for one reason and one reason only. It is that J B Tyrrell had advised Moffatt that the fatal rapids were of no concern. And I suggest it not beside the point that that rapids advice of Tyrrell had proved reliable for eleven weeks previously. But JBT’s advice failed Moffatt on 14 September 1995.
Reference. Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

Lesser items.
MacDonald reproduced two passages from Grinnell’s book; I thought that both deserve replies.
Passage 1.
This sense of humour is exhibited in a comment on Art Moffatt’s abdication of leadership, whose apparent quest for inner peace paralyzed the pace of the trip, and left a void unfilled: “Skip found himself in the difficult position of having become second-in-command to a cup of tea.” [Grinnell book, top of p 146]
Response.
Pessl’s book documents that Moffatt did not abdicate leadership at any time.
Passage 2.
Our only hope of survival lay in living off the land. If we were lucky to run across a herd of caribou, we would probably survive. If not, we should expect the same fate as Hornby, Adlard and Christian, death by starvation. [Grinnell book, top of p 91; the date (not provided) must have before 4 August, when the first caribou was sighted].
Response.
MacDonald’s quote Our only hope of survival…by starvation. is entirely accurate as it stands.
But Grinnell’s book (MacDonald’s only source) documents the contrary.
The context of Grinnell’s book: In the six weeks before Moffatt died, the party obtained a bountiful supply of food from the land: five caribou, many fish (three species), many ptarmigan, blueberries and mushrooms (the latter two only earlier in the period). As well, the party had provisions remaining from the initial supply, and it augmented that supply from the cache, on 7 September.
This evidence of Grinnell is confirmed by that of Pessl.
More generally, at no time was the party anywhere close to death by starvation, before or even after the tragedy (when most food was lost). At times, the party was hungry, especially before the shooting of the first caribou, even occasionally afterward. More importantly, at times before the tragedy, the party was gorged on food. In fact, on 14 September, the party had so much caribou meat on board that it had no more need to hunt. And it caught 20 lb of lake trout at lunch that same day.
Reference. Appendix 6. Food.

Review of the Murphy-MacDonald assertions regarding the schedule.
The Che-Mun articles (1966) of Murphy and MacDonald were billed to be reviews of Grinnell’s book of that year. But I suggest that those articles are rather distant from reviews, for they contain accusatory material that is unsubstantiated, in fact called into question, by the evidence of Grinnell’s book.
The assertions in question are the following.
Murphy. Lack of food, proper equipment and most importantly, lack of a planned itinerary, contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise.
MacDonald 1. As the summer-length trip wore on, and the progress of their three Chestnut canoes lapsed further and further behind schedule…
MacDonald 2. One of the implications of a quasi-religious resistance to a pragmatic plan of travel was the death of Arthur Moffatt.
MacDonald 3. Moffatt’s abdication of leadership of the party.
Murphy and MacDonald suggest that, due to lack of schedule, Moffatt realised only very late in the game that he had to get off the river pdq, and so he threw caution to the winds and ran the fatal rapids in desperate haste without scouting them.
The evidence of Grinnell (as provided particularly in his book), and that of the other participants, begs leave to differ.
Comment.
I find it a considerable temptation, but assess it to be an excerise in futility, to speculate how the Murphy-MacDonald reviews of Grinnell’s book might have differed had either consulted any of the previous literature, namely
the 1959 Sports IllustratedNew York Times article (with its reference to the start of the air search on 22 September), and
Grinnell’s 1988 Canoe article (which contains the passage late in the season and behind schedule).
On the other hand, perhaps we need not speculate, perhaps the answer is provided already in how Murphy and MacDonald treated the evidence of their only source, namely Grinnell’s book.
References to the cause.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

Summary.
Contrary to the assertions of Murphy and MacDonald, Moffatt had scheduled a date (it was 15 September) for arrival in Baker Lake, as evinced by the eleven sources listed in my paragraph The Moffatt party had no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake? Included in that list is Grinnell’s book, the only source used by Murphy and MacDonald.
The Moffatt trip was not of the irresponsible We’ll-arrive-in-Baker-Lake-when-we-get-there variety, as Murphy and MacDonald suggest.
Given both the vagaries of the weather and the very purpose of the trip (namely to document the barrenlands), Moffatt could not have had, and did not have, a highly prescriptive schedule.
The cause of Moffatt’s death was not lack of schedule as asserted by Murphy and MacDonald. The cause was rather incorrect information provided by J B Tyrrell; his advice had proved correct for something like eleven weeks previously and so Moffatt followed it in the afternoon of 14 September.
Murphy and MacDonald failed Moffatt and the paddling community as a whole, for they made no mention of the contrary evidence (of both the New York Times article and the Sports Illustrated article) that Moffatt had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
General comments.
1. Are we are to believe that Moffatt left his wife Carol and their two children for months without telling her when he planned to arrive in Baker Lake? Of course he told her. [Carol Moffatt’s telegram to Peter Franck’s father. Pessl, p 141]
2. Are we are to believe that Moffatt did not tell the RCMP of his plan. Of course he told the RCMP. Why else was the search was started on 22 September? [New York Times article. Sports Illustrated, p 71]
3. Assertions (in particular those made by Murphy and MacDonald) that there existed no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake are refuted by multiple, independent sources. And I suggest it not beside the point that assertions of Murphy and MacDonald were made in reviews of Grinnell’s book, which evidence refutes those assertions.
4. More generally, eleven independent sources evince that there was a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake; all but Grinnell (need it be said) agree that the date was 15 September, with a week’s grace period.
5. Those Moffatt accusers (one such was the SI who knew the evidence omitted to mention that the Moffatt party had portaged the rapids immediately above the fatal ones.
Is anyone so credulous as to believe that, having that very morning completed a portage, only a few hours later Moffatt was in such desperate haste to reach Baker Lake before freeze-up that he chose to run the fatal rapids without a scout, thereby risking the film, photos and camera, not to mention the lives of all six participants?

References.
Appendix 8. Other rapids.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

The matter of the schedule and Moffatt’s death.

Introduction.
Every accuser (some only implicitly) in the matter of the schedule agrees with the assertion Their lack of schedule meant they took risks to catchup on time….
Interpretation. Moffatt was in such a hurry (indeed, desperate haste according to the Sports Illustrated editor) to reach Baker Lake before the weather closed in that he chose to run the fatal rapids without a scout.
The evidence begs leave to differ.
1. Throughout the trip, Moffatt exercised great care in running rapids, not least to protect the film and cameras. Indeed, he portaged at least one set of rapids (those above Grant Lake) run by the others in order to protect those two items, for which the very trip was undertaken.
2. That care is demonstrated elsewhere, for example in his caution regarding the rapids below Nicholson Lake, the gorge below Dubawnt Lake, and the falls above Wharton Lake.
3. The only two dumps of the entire trip occurred in the fatal rapids.
4. More importantly, in the very morning of the day that Moffatt died, the party completed the portage around the rapids immediately above those where he died.
Do Murphy, MacDonald and others really expect us to believe that, no more than a few hours later, Moffatt suddenly realised that the party had get out ASAP, that he panicked and so decided to risk everything, lives included, by running those rapids without a scout, in desperate haste, taking the the ultimate chance in so doing?
The fatal rapids were run without a scout for one reason and one reason only: J B Tyrrell had advised Moffatt that they were of no concern.
Reference. Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

Summary.
The schedule-related accusations of Murphy and MacDonald have no basis in evidence, as evinced by their only source: in his book, Grinnell asserted repeatedly and consistently that the Moffatt party had a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake, as indeed it did. Nevertheless, Murphy and McDonald asserted that Moffatt died from lack of schedule.
Murphy and MacDonald made no mention of the Sports Illustrated editor’s nine days behind schedule, a remark that appears to refute their assertion that the Moffatt party had no schedule. Neither was that passage mentioned elsewhere in the accusatory literature.
But wait! The SI editor’s nine days behind schedule has no basis in evidence. Anyone who has paddled in the barrenlands (one of M&M had done so) knows full well that the weather (especially the wind) forbids a day-by-day schedule. Even the Tyrrell-Tyrrell party of 1893 had to wait out the weather on occasion.
Reference. Appendix 5. Pace and weather.

Conclusion.
So is destroyed the reputations of the defenceless innocent.
On the other hand, perhaps I am being overly judgemental here. Rather, perhaps we have the ingredients for an opera buffa.

The accusations of Mahler and Thum.< The Mahler-Thum publications,
identical at first glance.
1. Che-Mun. Outfit 122, Autumn 2005, starting on page 4.
http://www.ottertooth.com/che-mun/122/chemun122.pdf
2. Feature Story in the Advanced Paddler section at canoeing.com.
http://www.canoeing.com/advanced/feature/deadmansriver.htm

Charlie Mahler’s introduction.
Because of Moffatt’s ordeal, not it spite of it, the “Voyageurs Canadiens” chose the Dubawnt for their crowning trip.
Comment 1. The members of the Thum trip dubbed themselves such.
Comment 2. A discussion of the passage Because of Moffatt’s ordeal is provided in Ancillary 1. Accusations.

Bob Thum’s text.
Moffatt is precisely why we took the trip…I thought experienced trippers could cover Tyrrell’s route safely and skillfully, which we did…Those guys had no business being up there…They were a bunch of guys who didn’t know what they were doing and led by a guy with poor leadership skills. They fooled around and did a lot of crap and it finally came back to bite them. This was simply a group of novices led by someone more interested in film than travel, which squandered its time and resources and then made some tragic mistakes…We wanted to avoid the situation that Moffatt got himself in where he had some experience, but not much. And he went with a bunch of guys that had very little experience. I think he’d gone down the Albany maybe two or three times. That’s a nice river, but not a terribly difficult trip…We didn’t take a lot of chances…There’s lots of opportunities to screw up there, and when you screw up like Moffatt did…
Comment. I interpret Thum’s fooled around to be a reference to schedule. I see no need to burden the reader by repeating the schedule-related analysis provided above.
Aside. Thum’s unidentified sources for the above were likely the publications of the SI editor, Murphy and MacDonald. Perhaps a lawyer might have been expected to provide such information.
References.
1. leadership, novices and experience.
Appendix 4. Experience.
2. tragic mistakes and screw up.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
3. The remainder of Thum’s text.
Ancillary 1. Accusations.
Comment.
From Thum’s Moffatt is precisely why we took the trip…I thought experienced trippers could cover Tyrrell’s route safely and skillfully, which we did…,
some might conclude that the sole purpose of his trip was to show up a dead man.
That matter aside, the barrenlands appear to have been merely a tool to boost Thum’s self-esteem.
References.
Appendix 4. Experience.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids

Summary.

The Moffatt party had no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake?
Response.
The New York Times,
the Manchester Ledger,
the Boston Sunday Advertiser,
the Winnipeg Tribune,
the RCAF,
the RCMP,
the Baker Lake detachment of the RCMP,
the Moffatt family (especially his wife Carol),
participant Grinnell,
participant Lanouette, and
participant Pessl,
all eleven of them, respectfully request permission to disagree.

The Sports Illustrated editor.
Item 1.
The schedule evidence of the New York Times article was published in the Sports Illustrated article itself. Some may find it amusing that the SI editor made no mention of that item.
Item 2.
Let me remind the reader of the editor’s assertions
a week behind…schedule [SI article, upper right column on page 76; dated 8 August] and nine days behind schedule [SI article, lower right column on p 76; dated between 15 and 18 August].
Given that there exists no evidence that the Moffatt party had no day-by-day, the only possible explanation of these assertions is that the Sports Illustrated editor represented the record of Moffatt party (1955) to be the schedule of the Tyrrell party (1893).
The evidence begs leave to differ.
1. The Moffatt party was not following the day-by-day record of the Tyrrell party (1893).
2. As is obvious from even a cursory reading of the evidence (I recommend that of Pessl’s book), the Moffatt party had no day-by-day schedule.
3. Indeed, no barrenlands party, ever, had a day-by day schedule. Even the Tyrrell party was sidelined on occasion.

Murphy and MacDonald.
Murphy’s assertion Lack … of a planned itinerary, contributed to his demise, this made in a review of Grinnell’s book, is refuted by the evidence of Grinnell’s book.
MacDonald’s assertion One of the implications of a quasi-religious resistance to a pragmatic plan of travel was the death of Arthur Moffatt, this made in a review of Grinnell’s book, is refuted by the evidence of Grinnell’s book.

Thum.
Thum’s assertion This was simply a group of novices led by someone more interested in film than travel, which squandered its time and resources and then made some tragic mistakes is refuted by the evidence of Grinnell’s book.

The cause of Moffatt’s death.
Over the course of those 55 years from 1959 to 2014, every defamer (here those who asserted that Moffatt died because of lack of schedule) got it completely wrong.
Reference. Sub-Appendix 1. Dates for the Tyrrell and Moffatt parties.

At the tops of his pages 17, 41, 69, 129 and 144, Pessl provides the following
Black Lake. 7 July (Tyrrell); 2 July (Moffatt).
Selwyn Lake. 16 July; 12-16 July.
Wholdaia Lake. 20 July; 17-25 July.
Hinde Lake. 22-26 July; 28 July.
Boyd Lake. 27 July; 1-3 August.
Carey Lake. 29 July-2 August; 7-8 August.
Dubawnt Lake. 7-17 August; 21-27 August.
Wharton Lake. 22 August; 8 September.
Schultz Lake. 29 August; 22 September.

Sub-Appendix 2. 2 September vs 15 September for arrival in Baker Lake.

1. I cannot understand why Grinnell does not state 15 September to be the planned arrival date in Baker Lake, as given by ten other sources, why instead he insists the arrival date to be 2 September (likely not coincidentally the date that the Tyrrell party arrived in Baker Lake [Pessl, private correspondence]). But why?
2. As I document below, Moffatt provided the date of 15 September to his wife, to the other five participants (including Grinnell!) and to the RCMP.
3. Certainly Kingsley was misled by Grinnell’s date of 2 September.
By August 29, three days before they’d planned to complete the trip, they’d travelled half the distance. [Kingsley book, middle of p 188; also Kingsley Up Here article, lower right column on p 90].
Responses.
(a) At the campsite on 29 August, the Moffatt party was 15 miles (25 km) upstream from the end of Dubawnt Lake. On 30 August, it re-entered the river and continued downstream for an unknown distance before camping again. [Pessl, p 111].
(b) Kingsley was misled also by multiple incorrect statement that the Moffatt trip was 900 miles long. The distance along the route (Black Lake to Baker Lake) is ~1095 km or ~680 miles, and
the distance from the end of Dubawnt Lake to Baker Lake is ~375 km, or ~233 miles.
Reference for points (i) and (ii).
Ancillary 4. Distances.
The distance from the campsite on 29 August to Baker Lake is then ~250 miles; of course, my point is that 250 miles is much less than half of 900 miles.
Summary. Due to incorrect information provided by others, Kingsley’s statement is incorrect with respect to both time and distance.
4. Sept. 2 certainly had no relevance in terms of expedition planning or announced Baker Lake arrival expectations. [Pessl, private correspondence].
5. Further confusing the issue, in Grinnell’s book only of course, is that 2 September was important for Franck’s registration at Harvard [Grinnell, p 162; Pessl, p 105]. I find Grinnell a bit unclear here: Because Peter had planned to enter his sophomore year at Harvard that Autumn, the September 2nd date was particularly important to him. He would have to travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts and register for classes within a few days of our return.
6. I ‘fess up. I am unable to understand why Grinnell insists that the scheduled arrival date was 2 September rather than 15 September, as given by ten other sources.
7. The only possibility that occurs to me, strange as it may seem.
Was Grinnell being mischievous here, trying to see how many people he could fool,
just as perhaps he was in providing the yes/no/yes evidence regarding a prescriptive schedule,
just as I believe he was just as he was when he claimed I was not the least experienced canoeist, but the most experienced.
I suggest that this possibility not be rejected outright.

Sub-Appendix 3. The Moffatt party’s response to the wind.

1. Moffatt replied that the wind did not blow on schedule [Grinnell article, p 20, top right]. I believe that every recreational paddler with experience on the barrens will agree with Moffatt.
When the wind is up on the barrens, we recreational paddlers stay put, for there are no trees to provide shelter. Bring reading material and hiking boots, spend the day cleaning up, repairing gear, resting, telling stories, in short do anything but try to paddle. Of course one can have a week-by-week schedule, or something even less prescriptive. But a day-by-day schedule for travel in the barrenlands is impossible for anyone.
Even the Tyrrell party of 1893 was unable to travel some days. On my to-do list is an examination of the Tyrrell journals, in an attempt to estimate the fraction of days that they did not travel.
2. Lanouette speaks to the matter. Of course we had no day to day plan. Weather played a crucial role in our travels and made such planning impossible. [Private correspondence].
3. The Moffatt party adjusted to the wind by getting up early, especially on Dubawnt Lake, as Pessl and Franck describe in the following passages.
(a) 23 August (on Dubawnt Lake). …we have once again decided on emergency scheduling and will get up at 4 AM if the wind is down, paddle until 8 or so, have breakfast and continue paddling until the wind stops us again. It is interesting to note that these measures initially come from one of the gang, seldom from Art. In any case, I am confident that we will arrive in Baker Lake with plenty of meat on our bones. [Pessl, p 101]
(b) 24 August. Heavy frost … as we shivered out of the sack at 4 A.M. … paddling the entire day with a break at 9 AM for breakfast and another at 2 PM for lunch. Now at 6 PM we have made camp. [Pessl, p 101]
(c) 26 August. Left camp at 5 AM after breakfast… [Pessl, p 103]
(d) 27 August. Questionable winds and general early morning reluctance combined to form another beautiful day in camp. [Pessl, p 104]
(e) 27 August. Another good day, but still a breeze from the south. We could have travelled, but Art declared a day of rest because he wanted to go over to the mainland and see what it was like; what animals he could get pictures of… [Franck, in Pessl, p 105]
(f) 28 August. A fine breakfast … an open water journey … The wind freshened at noon…wait for the wind to lessen… We paddled continuously until 9 PM. [Pessl, p 107]
(g) 29 August. …another “day off” [Pessl, p 108]
(h) 29 August. Windy this morning, so we stayed put. [Franck, in Pessl, p 108]
(i) 30 August. Heavy wind and rain squalls chased us back into the tents this morning… After lunch, skies cleared and we enjoyed one more rare “shirts off” day as we padded the remaining 15 miles across the bay to the outlet of the lake… We are back on the river now… [Pessl, pp 110&111]

Sub-Appendix 4. Evidences regarding the existence of a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
Comment. The complete list of evidences is provided above, in the paragraph The Moffatt party had no schedule for arrival in Baker Lake? I provide here comments and text for some items.
Source 1. The New York Times article.
As I discussed above, the NYT article evinces that the party was scheduled to arrive in Baker Lake on 15 September, with a grace period of seven days.
Source 2. The Manchester Ledger.
Article of 23 September 1955.
Six Explorers Missing in Northwest Territory.
Dartmouth college said today six men are more than a week overdue on a 900-mile canoe trip to the barren wastelands of the Canadian North. … Concern was expressed for their safety when they did not check in September 15 as scheduled at a lonely outpost of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A search was organized.
Comment. Thanks to Lanouette for a copy of the article.
Source 3. Boston Sunday Advertiser.
Article of 25 September 1955.
Six Canoeists Safe in Wilds.
Six canoeists, objects of a wide air search in Canada’s barren eastern Northwest Territories, turned up yesterday in good health at the destination they announced when they set out three months ago on their adventurous journey.
The canoeists…arrived at Baker Lake…yesterday afternoon, the Royal Canadian Air Force announced.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police and RCAF had undertaken search flights along the 700-mile route mapped out by the canoeists at the outset of their journey.
The canoeists left Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan, June 29, … They had expected to reach Baker Lake by Sept. 15.
Moffatt had left a note with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Stony Rapids in northern Saskatchewan, giving the party’s projected route. Since then the only clue to the whereabouts was the discovery of a supply cache half way along the proposed route at Dubawnt Lake. The RCMP at Prince Albert, Sask., were notified of the find Friday.
… Details of the canoeists’ adventures and the cause of their being almost 10 days overdue at their destination were not immediately available.

Comment 1. We all wish that the title had been accurate.
Comment 2. Thanks to Lanouette for a copy of the article.
Source 4. Carol Moffatt’s telegram.
Sent on 22 September to Thomas Franck (Peter’s father).
MOFFATT EXPEDITION HOPED TO REACH BAKER SEPT 15. … [Pessl, p 141].
Comment. That the telegram was sent seven days after 15 September suggests that Moffatt told her to be concerned only if she had not heard from him by a week later. The suggestion that Moffatt had arranged a grace period of seven days is confirmed by other sources.
Source 5. Lanouette, private correspondence.
Our ETA Baker Lake: Sept. 15. This in July 1 letter to Carol Moffatt and also verbal to RCMP officer in Stony Rapids.
Winnipeg Tribune of Sat. Sept. 24 headlines missing canoeists. Same paper Monday Sept. 26 says canoeists found; 1 dead, 5 okay. I assume Skip, Bruce or George have actual arrival dates.
Carol M. notified RCMP after we were overdue by several days. Also Lowell Thomas, the most distinguished news commentator of his time, broadcast our tardiness.
At no time in our journey did we hear search planes, but evidently, according to the Winnipeg Tribune, at least one float plane was sent out from Stony Rapids around Sept 23 or 24.
[Lanouette, private correspondence].
Comment. Pessl confirmed that date, also in private correspondence.
Source 6. Grinnell’s book.
As I describe above, Grinnell agrees that there was a planned arrival date, but he gives 2 September instead. His book was available to Moffatt’s accusers; all three quoted above overlooked his evidence. Opinion. That Grinnell’s date is incorrect is a small matter compared to the assertions made by Murphy and MacDonald that there existed no schedule at all.
Source 7. Pessl’s book.
(a) His …about 25 days left gives 17 September or so (in agreement with 15 September) for the intended arrival date [p 100, 23 August].
(b) On the party’s arrival in Baker lake on 24 September, We were met by Corporal Clair Dent of the RCMP … and were quickly informed that the Air Force and local authorities were to have started a search for us this very day. [p 144].
Comment. Given that the RCMP and the RCAF had already started searches, Dent’s local authorities must refer to an initiative of the RCMP detachment at Baker Lake.

Sub-Appendix 5. Arrival in Baker Lake by the due date?
The evidence suggests to me that, in late August, the Moffatt party was on track to reach Baker Lake within the grace period arranged by Moffatt with the RCMP (that is by 22 September), perhaps even by the planned and announced date of 15 September.
The evidence, part 1.
On 29 August, the party reached Outlet Bay of Dubawnt Lake [Pessl, p 108; also Franck in Pessl, p 109]
To arrive early on the scheduled date of 15 September, the party would have had to travel the remaining 255 miles or so in 16 days; the average of 16 miles (30 km) per day is not such a demanding pace. In fairness though, the party should have expected conditions to deteriorate. In fact, it was weather-bound on 1, 2 and 3 September, and again on 7 and 8 September. On the other hand, it certainly had no reason to expect anything like the storm of 9 September; according to the Sports Illustrated article [p 82, top of right column] (far from the most reliable of sources) hurricane-force winds were recorded in Churchill.
The evidence, part 2.
Even with three travelling days lost due to the foul weather of 1-3 September, three lost due to the storm of 7-9 September and two lost due to the tragedy, the party arrived on 24 September, two days after the expiry of the grace period.
And so I think it likely that, in the morning of 14 September, the party could have reasonably expected to reach Baker Lake within the grace period, that is by 22 September, while at the same time exercising due caution.
A question.
Barrenlands paddlers know now (I believe) to exit well before mid-September.
Should the Moffatt party have expected foul weather in early September? Apart from the storm of 9 September, I believe the answer to be yes, as I document in
Appendix 5. Pace and weather.

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.
Bibliography.

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

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