May 2018

Map & Compass Testing

Practical exam on map and compass navigation for the Journeyman Certification Program this morning. Students have had weeks of instruction, now it is time to prove they can do it. #fulltanglifestyle

I was up early this morning tweaking menus for our upcoming trips on the Aroostook and Bonaventure rivers before we start our instructional day here at the field school. It’s not the glamorous side of guiding expeditions, but planning and provisioning are crucial parts of having a trip work at all, let alone smoothly. The [...]

This morning I went to the fish hatchery in Caribou and picked up some young brook trout, brought them back to the field school, and put them in the pond. I have many fond memories of fishing small trout ponds as a kid. Now we can provide that same experience to the kids who come [...]

We’ve got an open spot left on our 2018 Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester, a four-week experience where you learn to guide wilderness canoe trips. It’s a great opportunity to take your paddling, poling and wilderness living skills to the professional level, as well as learn the rivers, rapids and campsites of northern Maine. You’ll cook [...]

Episode 40 of the JMB Podcast is about current and upcoming events. Christopher and I discuss what we’re working on to upgrade the field school, upcoming trips and programs, stocking our pond with brook trout, and our new team resiliency training. Links: Team Resiliency Training At Jack Mountain Autumn Woodsman Course Family Bushcraft Week, School [...]

Week Six Completed

This afternoon we wrapped up week six of our nine-week spring semester with Journeyman certification testing on axemanship and dramatic thunderstorms. As part of our Journeyman certification, students have to pass a series of tests in the field to demonstrate their mastery of the material. Today we tested on the four major axe disciplines: felling, [...]

Immediately following our spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, our team of instructors is headed northeast to the Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula for a whitewater trip on the Bonaventure River. (Photo above is from Kicking Horse Pass on the Bonaventure, taken on a previous trip.) We’ll be joined by several notable Canadian and American instructors. We’re all excited [...]

Never Stop Learning

I’m a lifelong learner. Even as I’m sliding through middle age, I still get excited about learning new things. Each year I like to take a course or two to increase what I know and because I find it enjoyable. I like to seek out experienced instructors, because when I’m taking a course I’m learning [...]

A few years ago I was abducted and left for dead on top of a mountain in arctic Norway. I was forced to find my own way back to civilization while dealing with deep snow fields, freezing temperatures and raging rivers. The entire experience was recorded and appeared as an episode of the Discovery Channel [...]

Today is the official halfway mark on the spring semester; 4.5 weeks down, 4.5 weeks to go. In some ways our 9-week semester seems to pass in the blink of an eye. In others, it seems to last for years. So far this specific course has been flying by leaving me wondering where the time [...]

On our long-term semester and expedition programs, we live and work together in close quarters for an extended period of time. Our goal is for individuals to learn and excel at hard skills, but without a plan and systems regarding how to live and work together, successful outcomes are harder to achieve. Working as a [...]

Episode 39 of the JMB Podcast begins with Ed’s review of the New England Bushcraft Show, moves to a discussion about appropriate gear for specific situations, then a discussion of minimum versus displaced impact, and lastly a cross-cultural view of different approaches to ecology, specifically regarding the Cree idea of continued use for sustainability of [...]

The river is calling, and this morning we will answer! We’re headed out on our first trip of the spring semester in an hour. The water is high, cold and fast, and we’re headed to a winding, small river with plenty of challenging water. It will be the first time poling in moving water with [...]

First Paddle Of 2018

What a difference a week makes! The photo is Christopher taking the first paddle around the pond (aka Grand Lac Samsquanch) of 2018, 1 week ago. Today was sunny and 70 degrees, and we had a bunch of boats on the pond working through our introduction to canoe poling curriculum. It was a late spring, [...]

Keeping your body clean is important. This video is all about the ways in which to do so with no infrastructure. Something I neglected to mention in the video is that the Pump-Up Solar Shower is also a great piece of kit for trips to the ocean in order to rinse off at the end [...]

Today begins week four of the spring semester. People have been living with the field school systems long enough for it to become second nature, making life smooth and enjoyable. Another factor in this smooth, enjoyable lifestyle is the weather; the snow is finally gone and we’re enjoying warm, sunny weather. Watching the plants emerge [...]

Traditional Maine Guide Canoeing: Episode 38 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast. On a blustery Saturday morning, Christopher and I discussed the role of the canoe in northern Maine. Along the way we covered the history and materials of canoes (birch bark, wood canvas, aluminum, fiberglass, plastic),why canoeing still matters, the JMB traditional skills approach, [...]

It’s a Guide Shack Saturday night. From the photo: radio, guide canteen, knife, hat, wood stove in the northwest corner (thankfully not needed for the first Saturday of 2018). Listening to A Prairie Home Companion on the radio. Dutch oven cooking outside. My 16’x20′ off-grid, off-pipe home at our field school in northern Maine. Content. [...]

After snowshoeing into the field school for the first two and a half weeks of the spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, on May 1st the snow was finally low enough for me to put the truck in 4-wheel drive and make it down the road. Once there are wheel ruts in the snow, things melt significantly [...]

Making simple mocotaugans (crooked knives) in the campfire. It doesn’t take a bunch of infrastructure to make a functional knife. I used to believe it did, but now have 20 years of making simple knives in the campfire under my belt. Vise grips and a hammer are necessary, as is a new file to cut [...]

 


 

Web Sites
· JMB Field School – Long-Term Immersion: Semester & Expedition Programs. GI Bill & College Credit.
· Classic Wilderness Guiding – Canoe, Snowshoe & Sea Kayak Trips
· JMB Folk School – Lodge-Based Programs & Short Courses
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· BushcraftSchool.com – Online & Distance Learning
· JMBS Master Calendar – All Scheduled Programs

Typos, Etc.
Note: Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device demonstrating prodigious artistic prowess.

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