Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

Welcome to the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog. These are the most recent posts. You can also view our archives by category (Categories) or by date (Archives) under Archives tab in the menu at the top of the page.


We had an amazing week on the water last week, as the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester students used the paddles they recently carved to cross a remote lake and camp for the week. They learned a bunch of named paddle strokes, where hand and body position at the beginning and end of the stroke, as well [...]

After a long, hot summer (the warmest on record in the Caribou, Maine area), we’ve now had two mornings in a row with temperatures in the high 20’s. It will warm up again and we’ll be swimming comfortably for a few more weeks, but the colder weather is coming. A few years ago in the [...]

An old video of our received a comment that stated there was no such thing as bushcraft in North America because we didn’t have any bush, only woods, and as such it had to be woodcraft. Let me take this moment to say I don’t care what anyone thinks about the appropriate name for bushcraft, [...]

Mors Kochanski is a man who needs no introduction to people in the bushcraft community. My friend Dragan Uzelac from Niko Wilderness Education and The More You Know Podcast recently posted a 2 hour, 7 minute podcast interview where Mors discusses many things that will be of interest to the student of survival training and [...]

Our alumni do awesome things, so it’s a pleasure for me to keep in touch with many of them. This past spring I got an email from a guy named Ezra, who participated in a summer program a while back. He has since received a bachelor’s degree, worked as a teacher, and had many other [...]

It’s been a long, hot, low-water summer full of challenges, and we’re finally back from the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester (WCES). Since mid-June we’ve spent seven weeks on the rivers of Maine and Quebec guiding. That’s a lot of rapids, carries, and meals cooked over the fire. Today we said farewell to our WCES crew, [...]

In a few hours people arrive and we’ll begin the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. The plan is to spend the first few days in camp planning and packing meals and covering a variety of expedition skills from efficient paddling to whitewater rescue, then head out on the river. We’re having an exceptionally dry summer in [...]

We’ve had a great week on the Summer Woodsman course, starting with a heat wave but settling into cooler temperatures late in the week. We’ve spent a significant amount of energy working on axemanship, fire, campfire cooking, navigation, shelter, crafting, tracking and edible wild plants. Today is the last day of the course, and we’re [...]

As we roll into July, School Of The Forest programs are off to a great start.  Yesterday was the first day of our program at The Libby Museum in the lakes region of New Hampshire. This program is run in partnership with GALA, a local non-profit that focuses on building more self-reliant local communities. This [...]

If you’ve ever wanted to hear the unsolicited opinions of participants on our Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, listen to this episode of The More You Know podcast by Dragan Uzelac (Instagram @ nikowilderness) of Nico Wilderness Education from Alberta, Canada. Dragan spoke with Blake Towsley (Instagram @ leclubderaquettedesrf), owner of Le Club De Raquette De SRV, [...]

It’s July 4th week and we’re in the midst of a heatwave with temperatures in the 90’s. This type of weather always gets me thinking about winter! 2019 will be our 20th year running multi-week snowshoe expeditions, and thoughts of the winter trail are somewhat of an antidote to sweating while sitting still in the [...]

I spent a lot of time in the canoe this past spring, and watched as a variety of people had dry bags that failed. This happens every year. People put their faith in a dry bag to keep their stuff dry, but their stuff still gets wet. Don’t believe the dry bag hype, and don’t [...]

Next Up: Summer Term

Our next series of programs is our summer term, beginning July 8th and consisting of the Summer Woodsman course and the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester (both are full and we’re not accepting more applications). The Summer Woodsman is a weeklong introduction to all that we do here at the field school. But more than an [...]

Back From The Bonaventure

We’re back from a fantastic trip on the Bonaventure River on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. It was a lot of work due to low water levels, but we had an amazing group of guys that were ready for any challenge the river threw at us. It was my second trip on the Bonaventure, but the first [...]

The gear is packed up, the shuttle is on it’s way, and we’re ready to go. We leave this morning on our final trip for the spring, 2018 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. We’re headed to the headwaters of the Aroostook and will float back to the field school, 50+ miles, over the next week. We’ll also [...]

I received a piece of sad news and wanted to share it with our alumni. We were over at Scopan lake the other day working on paddling strokes and canoe rescue when two guys from the Maine Department of Conservation motored up to the launch. We talked for a few minutes about the lake and [...]

Acknowledgement of achievement by your peers and people who understand what you do feels more impactful than acknowledgement from strangers. We’ve been placed on numerous lists over the years regarding the best survival schools in America, etc., and it always feels good to be included with the industry leaders. Recently we were awarded the Wilderness [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

One of the great things about long courses is the ability to see the natural shifts as they happen. Currently, we’re in the midst of the final thaw up here, and that’s indicated by the usual influx of birds, amphibians waking up and plants starting to flower. A large portion of our curriculum at Jack [...]

History is rarely hands-on, but traveling old canoe routes is history you can experience in person. Connecting watersheds, traveling to distant lakes or regions, poring over maps; I love all of it. The romance of hanging up the truck keys for a year and traveling by my own power is a fantasy I’ve entertained often. [...]

Through adversity comes growth. So far this spring, mother nature has provided great opportunities for growth. The first few weeks of our spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester are the hardest few weeks of our calendar year. The snows are still deep, the streams are swollen, and getting around can be very difficult on deep, slushy snow [...]

 


 

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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