Tim Smith

By the time spring arrives I’ll have spent six weeks in remote, off-grid camps this winter. We just returned from our trip to northern Quebec, and today I’m provisioning for the first of two Boreal Snowshoe Expeditions, starting next week. Below are a few random ideas on living out in the winter that crossed my [...]

Recorded right after we got back from our trip to northern Quebec where we spent a week immersed in Cree Culture. Living in a traditional shelter on the side of a lake, we learned about hunting, trapping, snaring, fishing with gill nets as part of learning about traditional northern life ways. In the podcast we [...]

PHOTO: Self Reliance Workshop on wild foods from summer, 2016. For episode 17 I spoke with Josh Arnold, the director of Global Awareness Local Action (GALA). GALA is a local non-profit we partner with for our self reliance workshop series, among other things. We were also joined by Christopher Russell. We talked about the history [...]

PHOTO: Bush camp from a previous trip to Oujé-Bougoumou The bags are packed, the crew is ready, and in the morning we're headed north to northern Quebec to spend a week with my friends David and Anna Bosum. We'll snowshoe out to a bush camp and spend the week immersed in Cree culture and life [...]

Episode 16 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast is all about the role of crafting in bushcraft and education. Making things with your hands is a big part of our educational programs. I'm joined by Christopher Russell for a discussion about crafting as an educational tool, our experience with crafting during semester courses, and some [...]

We’re consciously shrinking. In 2017 we’re lowering the number of participants on almost all of our programs. It’s the opposite of growth, but our focus is on the experience. After years of experimentation, these are the numbers we find work the best for our immersion programs. The new maximum course sizes are: Wilderness Bushcraft Semester: [...]

Had a busy day in the office with our office manager. We were going over enrollment for 2017 and talking about past and future students. There was a period of time when she was looking through the enrollment paperwork and asked me if I knew/remembered person X, Y, Z, etc., and for each I said, [...]

Plagiarized Again

Mist On The Bonaventure

Recently it was brought to my attention that our website has been plagiarized again. Someone took our ideas and words (verbatim), used it as their own to sell programs similar to ours, and didn’t cite where they got it. Two days ago I received an email from a friend in Canada regarding a recent plagiarism [...]

Kancamangus Pass

After a great weekend at the Snow Walkers Rendezvous in Vermont I decided to take the scenic route home. It’s been a few years since I’ve driven the Kancamangus highway across New Hampshire’s White Mountains, but I have a lot of history there. From swimming in the rivers as a kid to backpacking as a [...]

Life is simpler on an expedition. The people on it have a shared goal and take tangible steps toward it every day. They come from different places and have different beliefs, but work together. When you stand shoulder to shoulder with someone while working hard as a team, you appreciate them, even if you don't [...]

Poling Haycock Rips

This is a tricky rip to run as to do it well you have to do a long downstream ferry in a narrow space and keep your boat under control. The guy in the photo struggled with poling early on in the course, but ran this rip like a boss without hitting any rocks. Getting [...]

To learn new things is challenging. When you stay inside your comfort zone, not being challenged, you're probably not learning new things. This is fine if you want to refine things you already know, but to blaze new ground demands that you be outside of where you feel 100% safe. In the photo above, participants [...]

Canoe In The River

We arrived at the campsite just as the rain began to fall. I unloaded my boat, but left her tied to the bank because the plan was to go pole up and down the rips when the rain stopped. There were a bunch of big hemlocks on this section of river, and they filtered the [...]

I loved this shot of the 20 footer, just below Little Falls under the brilliant red maple. She's been my best and most consistent model for the past 15 years, and I never get tired of looking at her.

Paddling amongst the whitecaps with a brisk tailwind. Paddling in strong tailwinds is a seldom-used skill. As the waves increase in size they want to spin you. If you get spun it's easy for the waves to swamp you. These guys had just come around the point into calm water. We hugged the shore for the [...]

A remnant of the log driving days, this stream was straightened and made deeper with explosives back in the day to facilitate floating logs downstream. It's way off the beaten path of well-used canoe routes, but it and the pond above are among my favorite places in northern Maine. I've always loved getting out and [...]

During the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, we want people to learn how to plan food and meals for an extended trip, starting with themselves and finishing with planning for a group. We also want them to learn how much water water they need on any given day in order to feel good and have their body [...]

I read some advice about choosing the right axe recently. I want to make a statement about choosing the wrong axe, or at least the closest axe. I’ve met young people who couldn’t afford a high-end axe and felt that their skills wouldn’t develop until they could. It’s not true. The path to axe mastery [...]

Just before they left on the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester, I sat down with Raife Bowman, Dylan Robinson and Jeremy Yates to talk about their recent hike across Quebec and New Brunswick on the International Appalachian Trail. They used their homemade pack baskets to do the hike, and had some adventures along the way. Listen [...]

Our giveaway of a signed copy of The Woods Cook recently came to an end. I'm happy to announce that Mark N. from Illinois is our winner! I sent out the book a few days ago, and he should be receiving it soon. This was our first foray into giveaways, and we expect to do more [...]

At the end of week 6 of the spring semester I recorded the second podcast with Christopher Russell. We talked about the progression of the course, the instructor and guide's dilemma, the 2 journeys (outward and inward) that everyone is on, and told a few stories along the way. You can read more about Christopher, [...]

There are a lot things referred to as survival skills these days that have nothing to do with survival. Survival is keeping your body alive. It’s pretty simple, but not easy. Over the short-term, defined by how long you can fast and go without food (longer than a month), you need to maintain your body [...]

On Wednesday, July 6th from 5-7 pm we’re offering our popular campfire cooking workshop in Wolfeboro, NH, in partnership with GALA as part of our Self Reliance Workshop Series. This time around we’re adding a special treat; we’ll be joined by instructor Derek Faria of The Woodsman School. Derek’s an old friend and Registered Maine [...]

Lining An Embacle

Remote trips, especially solo, aren't safe or even possible without solid canoe skills; poling, lining, and paddling. On the Bonaventure I poled the upper section, lined ledges, and as shown here, lined through the 'embacles' (french for log jams). As this was just a short drop inline with the current, I didn't bother to tie [...]

Below The Ledges On The Bonaventure

Just below a series of ledges on the Bonaventure. I should have ran this one on river right, but these are the things you learn during a first trip on a river and why I like to paddle them solo before doing them with clients.

Silently Observing

At dusk tonight I stood for half an hour watching and listening to four ruffed grouse feeding, talking and jumping around at the top of an aspen tree. Being silent and observing not only aids my knowledge and understanding of the natural world, but also my enjoyment of it. Empathy. Kinship. Belong to it.

Years ago I found a copy of the book Cooking Without Fuel that described a common appliance of 1900 that functioned much like a modern cooler. The idea was that you cook food until it boils, then put it in an insulated container which will maintain the heat and allow it to continue to cook, [...]

Being a lifelong learner, I’m of the belief that wherever you’re at, there is always room for improvement. Leading up to our 35th long-term course this spring, I’ve been seeking out additional training in order to become a better instructor. It's been an immensely enjoyable experience. In early March I spent a weekend at Amherst Archery [...]

Combining The Northern Forest Canoe Route, The Appalachian Trail And The International Appalachian Trail Into An Epic Journey   The Idea There is a romance and simplicity in journeys that start at your door. In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins didn’t take a bus to a plane to another bus to a cab to start his [...]

I'm excited to announce the recipient of our Wilderness Bushcraft Semester scholarship for the spring, 2016 semester; Christopher Russell! You're going to be hearing a lot about him over the coming months, but for now let me introduce you to his blog, PrimitiveAddictions.com,  and Facebook fan page. We have another scholarship opportunity for the fall [...]

I was just made aware that part of the term "survival situation" has been trademarked. I personally won't miss it and am glad to see it go.   Term “Survival Situation” To Be Replaced With “LTO - Life Threatening Occurrence” Since the recent registration of the trademark “The Situation” by Michael Sorrentino, the outdoor community [...]

Since returning home from the second Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, I’ve been immersed in the tedious and delicate process of a major overhaul of our web site. This entailed a lot of backend work, as well as creating several new sites. While there is still a lot of work to be done, the major overhauls are [...]

During our courses I talk a lot about the time I spent in Alaska. It set me firmly on the path that I’m still on.  I often get asked about why I came back, and while I’ve told parts of the story a bunch of times, I’ve never told it completely.  My mother recently came [...]

Home

Home. Morning coffee with kids and dog. There's no greater comfort than coming home to family.  

The modern world we live in is a thin veneer stretched over the raw circumstance of our human condition. Countless interconnected pieces give us things like central heating, the internet, smartphones, tax forms, and countless other modern realities. Despite its many benefits, the veneer insulates us from the experience of life our forefathers knew. While [...]

Everybody who’s been active in the outdoors for any length of time knows that as a knife ages, it stops being functional. This is true for both individual knives as well as knife designs. Only NEW knives and knife designs are useful, and only they can save your life in the inevitable “survival situations” we [...]

There’s something about me you may not know that might change how you perceive me. I'm not a flusher. I poop in a bucket, and when I’m done I cover it with sawdust. When the bucket gets full I dump it on a compost pile along with other organic inputs (kitchen, yard, etc.), then cover [...]

A goal I’ve set for myself this year is to be mindful and grateful for what I’ve done and what I've got. My plan for doing so is to avoid hedonic adaptation. I first heard of this term in the book A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art Of Stoic Joy (great read, [...]

I was talking to a person from the west coast over the holidays. When they found out our field school was in Maine, they said we were “back east.” I was forced to correct them and said; “no, we’re not back east. We’re down east. In Maine.” Then, after deciding to have a bit of [...]

This blog has never been about getting more readers or trying to be popular. It’s not about knives, gear reviews, how-to articles, survival tv shows or lists of “essential gear”. I don’t jump on board with the trends in the outdoor industry; I’m about the traditions. But there’s nothing wrong with people trying to grow [...]

Healthy Homemade Snack For Life In Bitter Cold Winter has just started to arrive here in northern New England, but it will be in full force soon. I have the good fortune of a busy winter schedule including spending four weeks guiding snowshoe expeditions (2 x 2-week trips) from late January through early March. That’s a [...]

I’m at the field school for the next week running the Winter Woodsman course. One of the things that we cover during the week is making a few different deadfall traps. I’ve searched for forty years for that perfectly rectangular rock that’s depicted in deadfall line drawings in survival books. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist. [...]

I just returned from performing in my son’s puppet show. He’s involved with a group that has a talent show every December. We go every year, and it’s always fantastic. I’m amazed at the maturity level of the kids involved. And the courage. There was a little girl who was going to sing a song. [...]

Part of our new lodge-based workshop series, spend a long weekend learning traditional northern forest skills while staying on-site in our modern, comfortable lodge.  The course content draws on the curriculum for our Winter Woodsman course. Topics include snowshoes and snowshoeing, fire lighting, axe use, knife use, knots, ice safety, ice fishing, animal tracking and more.  Group size is limited to 4 people; [...]

This past weekend our group fleshed and scraped a lot of deer hides. We also brained a bunch, and started pulling them, but were overtaken by dark before we got any soft. Brain tanning courses are all about time management. We’re trying to squeeze a bunch of stuff into a short period of time. We [...]

 


 

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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 that demonstrates his writing prowess.

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