Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

Welcome to the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog. Since 2006 we’ve been blogging about bushcraft, education, expedition leadership and the woods life. You can view the archives by category or by date under the Archives tab in the menu at the top of the page.


I was reading recently a blog posted by a fly shop owner out west who was, well, I think trying to make us all feel better about ourselves.  He said “Don’t feel bad if your Instagram feed is filled with 26” brown trout, sweeping vistas from Patagonia estancias or flawlessly tied flies.  Those represent someone’s [...]

After considering a variety of options, the route and plan is set for the 4-week Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester for summer, 2022. The course will start with a week at the field school where we’ll learn all about canoes, paddling, poling, making fire, cooking over a fire, thermal cookers, axe safety, making rope, knots, trip [...]

The Winter Woodsman and the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, as well as the northern Quebec snowshoe trip with the Cree have been cancelled for 2022 due to Covid. Part of our job is to always keep an eye on the safety of the group and the individuals in it. It is impossible to socially distance in [...]

This year marks 20 years that I have held a license as a Registered Master Maine Guide. I am licensed in the hunting, fishing, recreation and sea kayaking specialized categories. A few years ago I had plans to get a tidewater fishing guide license in order to get them all, but it’s on the back [...]

In 2020 we bought a house adjacent to the field school. It allowed us to have an office and some inside storage in the included outbuildings. The office was a fantastic upgrade. I love the off-grid lifestyle, but running a business off-grid was always a challenge. In 2022 we are planning to update the loft [...]

A number of years ago I crossed paths with Ezra Smith on a canoe course. He went on to build a wood canvas canoe, then traveled in that canoe the length of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I was guiding a trip on the Allagash when, on the last leg of his journey, he walked [...]

I love to see sign of the animals on the land, like this beaver-chewed ash tree along the river. Such signs tell me the ecosystem is healthy. But is health an objective thing, or culturally defined? In our modern, western world, health is often associated with the body. It is the worship of the appearance [...]

Thanksgiving Cranberries

Out for a walk on the land today, enjoying some solo time and the luxury of wandering with a camera. We’re supposed to get a storm over the next few days, and something tells me the snow will stick until April or May, so this was my last fall day to enjoy the weather and [...]

Three Days Before Dying

I originally posted this in 2016. A lot of people have lost loved ones recently. I don’t have any sage words to say about how to deal with the loss. Do the best you can, and if it isn’t enough talk to someone. ————————————– During our courses I talk a lot about the time I [...]

“No matter what anyone says, men in the cities spend their lives and win their bread fighting other men. In primitive places they fight nature and are drawn to other men by the common battle. The difference in character and viewpoints between a hunter and a salesman is as fundamental and irreconcilable as though they [...]

Nature Reliance Media graphic

I was recently a guest on the Nature Reliance Media Podcast with Craig Caudill. We had a great conversation about a wide variety of outdoor-related topics including my time in Alaska, the North Maine Woods, how expeditions are where stupid ideas go to die, and more. Here’s the link to the podcast: Nature Reliance Media [...]

After having to cancel our trip last year, We’re heading back to Oujé-Bougoumou in northern Quebec in March 2022, where we’ll spend a week in the bush experiencing Cree culture with our guides David and Anna Bosum in their ancestral homeland, Eeyou Istchee. This will be our 9th trip north, and as always we’re looking [...]

Gear sales drive the outdoor industry, not small guide services or outdoor schools. Years ago outdoor gear manufacturers and retailers learned that they needed to create a desire to buy among people in order to make money. They advertised aggressively and convinced people that the outdoors could be a fun and rewarding place to recreate, [...]

Looking through some photos from the spring semester and am reminded of the day we went up to a nearby lake to work on paddling canoes and there was a game warden and a truck full of brook trout. They were filling up external tanks on several float planes with trout, then flying low over [...]

We finished up the fall, 2021 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester yesterday. Now Moose Vegas is empty and the moose have the run of the place again – there was a big cow on the road this morning. It was our 53rd long term program, and we had a student on the course who wasn’t alive when [...]

Huge Year For Mushrooms

This year has been the most prolific for mushrooms that I recall in northern Maine. The local woods have been full of mushrooms since June, including these Amanitas I took a picture of the other day. I have eaten more boletes than any other year, as well as Suillis and other related genera. We also [...]

Whiskey Jacks On The Aroostook River

This last trip pushed us and our students physically. Low water meant lots of walking boats and portaging around obstacles we’d usually be able to float right over. Frustrations during trips like this one can get pretty high, but there always seems to be something to balance it out. Our first day leaving the headwaters [...]

Since the beginning we’ve enjoyed spending time on the trail with friends. We call these Full Tang Expeditions, and as a few of them have made their way on to our calendar I think it’s time they got a formal definition and description. A Full Tang Expedition is a minimally-guided trip for friends, colleagues and [...]

This morning we begin week four (of nine) on the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. Thanks to a bunch of recent rain, the rivers are near spring high water levels and we’ve taking advantage of it. Last week we covered basic poling in moving water, and this afternoon we’ll be pushing the envelope with some class 1 [...]

It’s been a busy summer in northern Maine. We’ve run a bunch of courses, as well as gotten out into the North Maine Woods on several occasions to explore. One of my favorite things is to take out young men and introduce them to bushcraft and life in wild places. The photo above was taken [...]

We’re into the thick of our summer programming, having finished up the spring semester and the Summer Woodsman course. Currently we’ve got four spots remaining for the fall 2021 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. It’s going to be a great course this year, and I’m already looking forward to to the warm days and crisp nights of [...]

This is our 2000th post. Over the years I have found blogging, and more recently podcasting and video, to be a great way to communicate with our audience. It allows us to publish what we want when we want, without the gatekeepers that were the norm twenty years ago. Our initial blog was setup by [...]

Higher education is changing. Whether due to covid or other factors, traditional education is being disrupted. While 4-year college degrees are still the norm, alternative education routes are growing dramatically in popularity. A question we get regularly is how can students pay for our program. Enter the 529 college savings plan. A 529 plan is [...]

Halfway Day, Spring ’21

Today is halfway day on the spring semester; Four and a half weeks done, four and a half weeks to go. Life is returning to the land as the warmer days are filled with birdsong and the buzz of insects. The leaves are coming out, and we’ll have fresh fiddleheads to eat any day now [...]

Last year we had a single black morel mushroom growing in an old garden space near the Guide Shack. This year there are about 100 of them. I’m not sure what it is about this soil that they like so much, but I’m happy to have them.

This morning we’re starting week 2 of the 9-week Wilderness Guide Training Semester. This week we’ll continue with our deep dive into self-reliant living in the forest with more useful plants and campfire cooking skills. We’ll also be adding our first shelter of the course, where students will spend four consecutive nights before moving on [...]

We’re getting closer to the end of our first Friluftsliv Forest Program in southern Vermont. It’s been a great experience, and we’re already getting signups for this year’s session. This got me thinking about the differences between a long-term residential program like our nine-week guide training and bushcraft semesters at Jack Mountain and the once-a-month [...]

Yesterday we began our 51st long-term program, the Wilderness Guide Training Semester, and the first field school program of 2021. After a winter filled with Covid-related challenges, it’s feels fantastic to be back out on the land and working with people. We’ve got a long way to go and a lot of material and miles [...]

JMBS Master Calendar
All scheduled programs.
· JMBS Master Calendar
 
JMBS Sites
· Field School – Professional Training, Semester & Expedition Programs. Masardis, Maine.
· Classic Wilderness Guiding – Canoe, Snowshoe & Sea Kayak Trips
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· JMB Web Portal – Guide To All Our Programs & Sites

BushcraftSchool.com
Private Community Network & Online Courses. Free to join.
· BushcraftSchool.com
 
Typos, Etc.
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.

JMB Blog & Media Hub
Home to our blog, videos, podcast, photos and updates, going back to 2006.
· JMB Media
 
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