Recent Posts

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One part of the off-grid (and full tang) lifestyle I’ve lived over the years that doesn’t get a lot of attention is keeping yourself entertained. Most people in the modern world watch a lot of video, whether via tv (older folks) or youtube (younger folks). Although things are changing, this has never been an option [...]

The Webs We Weave

  Nature studies are a vital part of our “first person ecology” curriculum at Jack Mountain and School Of The Forest, and after a conversation about methodology of study with my colleague Ben Spencer I wanted to write a bit about why its such a vital part of the curriculum. It’s easy to read a lot of facts [...]

Culminating Events

Jack Mountain’s semester programs are tough. They demand a lot of students, and that’s by design. When anyone allows themselves to get outside their comfort zone, it allows for growth. Which makes our last two weeks really important to the learning experience. In week seven, students are given some options for “Final Projects”. These range [...]

St. Croix River In The Fall

We spent the last week on the St. Croix river putting into practice what the Fall semester students have been learning about canoeing and camping. The St. Croix is the border between a large stretch of Maine and New Brunswick, and it was gorgeous to see the leaves starting change and the birds and animals [...]

I get great, deep sleeps at the field school. It’s one of the things that I love about life here. Last night, though, I popped awake at about 3:40. I felt wide awake and decided to walk outside and into the field. As I stood there, I heard the distant mating call of a female [...]

Hello again from School Of The Forest! We mentioned earlier in the summer that we’d be bringing back our Family Bushcraft week in 2018, and as of this morning registration is open. If you and your family want to have a truly alternative vacation next summer, hop over to the webpage and see what we’ve [...]

Youth Vs. Adult Learning Styles

Hello again from the Fall ’17 JMBS semester. This week was supposed to be spent on the trail, but due to inclement weather, we’ve pushed it back. So I figured I’d share an observation I’ve had over the “course” of the -heh- course. I spent the spring and most of the summer running youth programs, and [...]

Fly Fishing With A Nymph

Late summer of 2017 has been marked by extremely dry weather and low water in the Aroostook river. We have a USGS monitor station here in Masardis just upriver from the field school, and today (September 3rd, 2017) it showed the river flowing at 74 cubic feet per second. That’s the lowest I’ve seen it [...]

Two Weeks Into The Fall Semester

Just a quick update on life at the Jack Mountain field school. We’re two weeks in, and things are starting to pick up speed. Students have taken to camp life quickly, learning the ins and outs of cooking over an open fire, processing firewood, etc. We’ve been having a lot of fun getting to know each [...]

Many people these days are interested in learning how to go off the grid; to learn the systems needed to be self-sufficient in a remote location. These systems can include a humanure toilet system, rocket stove and open fire cooking systems, food storage systems, grey water systems, homemade solar power and hot water systems, and [...]

I have had the good fortune to learn from and call friend many of the titans of bushcraft and wilderness guiding. Knowing and learning from them has had a huge impact on my life and career. I won’t name names, but I don’t have to; if you’re reading this you probably already know half of [...]

Hey everyone, Christopher Russell from Jack Mountain and School of the forest here, This summer I got to help out with Jack Mountain’s summer woodsman course at our field school in Maine. Two fathers took part in this course with their sons, and it was really great to watch them learning together, as well as [...]

People who write books or teach usually base their writing or instruction on one of three sources: Imagination: They write or teach what they imagine something to be like. Purely hypothetical. Research: They interview others in person or via what they’re written, and then draw conclusions from other’s experience. They don’t have the experience themselves. [...]

  Summer’s in full swing, and so is School Of The Forest. We’ve just finished up a weeklong “Outdoor Skills” course at Squam Lake Natural Science center, and next on our list is another outdoor living class at the Libby Museum in Wolfeboro, NH. It’ll be a fun week, with teens in the course learning basic [...]

I was recently asked what the most challenging aspect of running this business is. After almost 20 years, I’m able to answer without hesitation; March. March is a tough month in northern New England. You can’t count on winter for winter activities, and you definitely can’t count on spring. As a result, you have to [...]

The fall, 2017 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester has been full for months, but in the past few days we’ve had 2 cancellations, resulting in 2 open spots. We’ll be contacting the folks on our waiting list this weekend, but if you’re interested give us a call Monday morning.

“The Art Of Outdoor Living; A Resource For The Junior Maine Guide Program” is on my top ten list of most important books on bushcraft and outdoor living, and recently came back into print. It provides clear instructions on a variety of outdoor living skills. The updated edition features 280 pages of revised text, glossy [...]

Six Weeks In

May-29-2016 Hey everyone. We’ve got about three weeks left in the course, so I sat down with Tim Smith again to chat about it so far, but mostly because he offered me coffee. There will be a podcast of our discussion in the future, but for now, I’d like to just compile my own thoughts [...]

May 27th, 2016 Last week I covered our canoe trip up to the last stretch. Now I’m going to write about our last day. Buckle in. On our seventh day, we woke up to relatively warm weather, and packed up camp as fast as possible. Everyone, including myself, was in a rush to get paddling [...]

May 20th ,2016 After a month of training, we went off on our first expedition. Fifty-two miles is nothing to someone who drives everywhere they go. An hour or so at most. I kept thinking about Shackleton and other’s trips in the days before we pushed off to start the trip, and feeling that fifty-two [...]

During my semester at Jack Mountain, I kept a blog on my personal site, Primitiveaddictions.com, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be reposting those pieces here on the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School blog. My hope is that anyone considering taking a course will get some insight into the day to day workings of a semester [...]

We’re Hiring. 2017 is the year we want to take our food production systems to the next level.  We’re looking for someone (or 2) experienced in with gardening and keeping chickens who is also interested in living a simple, off-grid lifestyle to keep us moving toward our goal of establishing a robust food production system. They will [...]

School Of The Forest Intensives

One of the aspects School Of The Forest will focus on is getting children and teens from the suburbs and cities out into the natural world. These intensives will be run at the Jack Mountain field school in northern Maine starting this summer. Students will experience a week of living outdoors, taking part in cooking [...]

School of the forest is partnered with G.A.L.A, a local non profit.  G.A.L.A has just celebrated it’s tenth year of operation. They’ve run all sorts of local workshops and community building events. Not limited to monthly contra dances,  A series of “Self-reliance” workshops and live music shows for the community.  It’s a great organization and [...]

  We’re excited to hit the ground running with School Of The Forest this summer. We’re starting off with an outdoor living skills class at the Squam Lake Natural Science Center in Holderness New Hampshire, where we’ll be teaching one of their annual “Guided Discoveries” classes on outdoor living skills. The class will not only [...]

Hello everybody, my name’s Christopher Russell, and I’m running the rebooted School Of The Forest program here at Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. School Of The Forest is a Wolfeboro, New Hampshire based youth outdoors program, focusing on self-reliance and resiliency in the outdoors for kids and teens.  Registration is open, so we thought we’d give you a [...]

Our instructors have the most experience and highest level of training in the industry. Other schools have instructor training courses lasting a few days to a few weeks. Our instructor training course is a minimum of 2 years. We run the longest and most challenging courses in the industry. Fittingly, our staff have the longest [...]

A little secret:  wilderness survival is pretty simple.  Challenging, deadly, intense, abnormal, chaotic or whatever adjective you deem appropriate is par for the course but your plan of attack to mitigate those nasty adjectives should be based on very basic and simple concepts instead of on expensive gear or attending celebrity weekend courses.   I [...]

I am sitting in my tent home tonight struggling to figure out how to start this essay on adventure travel, more specifically one aspect that…shucks, lost it again.  The problem is I am picking through a gorpy mix of nuts and fruit and these bizarre white coated black bean things than I’m not sure if [...]

Many of our alumni go on to do awesome things. One of those is Thomas Letchworth. Since completing our yearlong immersion program, Thomas has been a full time student and entrepreneur. He started the Endurance Guiding Company, and has led multiple backpacking trips in the US and Iceland. As the Endurance Guiding Company, Thomas and [...]

Years ago I pulled the trigger on a 17” Maca dutch oven (seen in the photo above). It’s big, deep, heavy (29 quarts, 67 pounds empty), and has fed countless big groups at the field school. Maca made a name for themselves with their large-capacity dutch ovens. If you wanted to feed an army, a [...]

Our spring and fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester courses this year are both full. The fall course has been filled for while, and we just filled the last spot on the spring course this week. There are just a few spots left on the Summer Woodsman and Riverman courses, and they probably won’t last long. We’re [...]

Mud season is in full swing, so fly fishing season is right around the corner. It’s a great time to learn to tie your own flies. With this in mind, Paul Sveum and Derek Faria are hosting a fly tying workshop on Tuesday, March 28th at 6pm. Bring your own vise and tools. $10 covers [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

 


 

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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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