Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

Welcome to the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog. I’ve been blogging since 2006, writing 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.


We’re got two new programs for ESSP alumni coming in 2009. The first is a practicum, where people gather at our Bushcraft And Sustainability Field School for a week (or two) to get back in touch with the bush life. It’s an opportunity to spend some unstructured time working on subjects of interest, prepare for [...]

Tent Fires

I had a great time at the Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous in Vermont, both meeting up with old friends and making some new ones. My workshop on using an axe and lighting wet-weather fires was well attended, and the food was outstanding as it always is at the Hulbert Outdoor Center. I also attended an informative [...]

A question I get asked on a regular basis, and one I wish would just go away, is what I think about the TV survival shows.  Usually, the person asking likes one show and doesn’t like another, and is willing to support their hero to no end.  Having spent the last few years with no [...]

Tomorrow I’m headed to Fairlee, Vermont for the Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous at the Hulbert Outdoor Center.  The focus of the event is on traditional winter travel skills of the north.  I’ll be running workshops on axemanship and fire building, but as is the case with all rendezvous or gathering-type events where I run workshops, I’d [...]

Jack Mountain was featured in an article titled Extreme Survival Schools by Scott Bowen that hit the web on October 15. From the article; “The instructors at Jack Mountain Bushcraft can teach you everything from how to live happily in the woods with nothing but a knife, to proper snow-shoeing techniques, to the art of [...]

We wrapped up our 12 semester program over the weekend, and I’m back in NH for a short while.  It was the first semester run entirely at our 41-acre Bushcraft And Sustainability Field School in Masardis, Maine, and the new location added immensely to the experience.  The beautiful, clear waters of the Aroostook River, the [...]

Aroostook River Photo

This photo is looking upstream on the Aroostook river.  Our Bushcraft & Sustainability Field School is on the right.  I loved this photo because of the light on the basket and canoe.

When the tail end of hurricane Kyle swung through Aroostook County and dumped several inches of rain it brought all the rivers up to their spring flood stage in two days.  We took advantage of this and went exploring on some of the nearby rivers. With each passing week I learn more about the area [...]

We’re putting together a busy schedule of short courses for this fall, winter and spring, and we’ve got a great new venue where they’ll be offered; the Ossipee Mountain Grange.  As part of our ongoing partnership with sustainability organization GALA, they’ll be hosting our workshop series in their new building.  The first scheduled workshop is [...]

Week 5 of the 10-week Earth Skills Semester Program is finished.  It’s been a great semester, and our new ground ere in Aroostook County has been flat-out amazing.  Last week I saw a lynx sneaking around camp, and I’ve been enjoying all the other wildlife we’ve seen.  In addition to the bald eagles, osprey, kestrels, [...]

We spent the week on a remote, northern Maine lake learning the arts of canoe paddling and poling.  Cooking every meal over the open fire, watching the bald eagles fly over the lake and land in the white pines, listening to the songs of the loons who would sit in the water off the point [...]

Week one of the fall semester is completed, and next week we’ll be in the bush camping on some remote lakes.  It will be an introduction to the traditional skills of canoeing and the grace of living in the bush. This past week we identified and used numerous wild food plants, as well as a [...]

In the morning I’m off to begin the 10-week fall Earth Skills Semester Program. It looks like there will be no internet access at our place after all, so I’ll be away from the blog and email for a while. If you want to get in touch with me, the best way is by phone [...]

Moose Track Lodge

I spent the last two weeks in Masardis with a friend putting up our new cabin.  The day before we started working on it I found a few large moose tracks under what became the center of the building, so I’ve been referring to it as the Moose Track Lodge.  It’s the next stage in [...]

Knives Made Of Feces

From an interview with Wade Davis in the April, 2008 issue of Discover magazine. True or not, it’s a great story. During the 1950s the Canadian government forced the Inuit into settlements. A family from Arctic Bay told me this fantastic story of their grandfather who refused to go. The family, fearful for his life, [...]

We’re organizing a yearly trip for alumni of our bushcraft semester courses.  Our goal is to create avenues for continuing education and group learning.  The 2009 trip is still in the planning stages, but will likely take place on the Penobscot and Allagash rivers and be 2-3 weeks long. More of a practicum than a [...]

I was at the library in town tonight and found out that there was an article in the local paper about a recent edible and medicinal plant walk I ran. It’s in the July 17th edition of the Granite State News in the Home and Garden section. Titled “Finding edible plants and medicines in your [...]

Knowing we’d be far from the power lines this past semester, and knowing I’d want something to use as a generator to charge camera/camcorder/cell phone batteries, I bought a Freeplay Weza before the start of the course. I’ve had great luck with one of their other products, a hand-cranked LED lantern, and the way the [...]

One of the challenges of an extended stay in the bush during the warm (no snow or ice) seasons is planning meals that don’t require refrigeration. Of course, there is always the option of storing food in a cooler with store-bought ice, but this is a hassle as well as being expensive. There is also [...]

Times are tough, and they’re getting tougher. Gas prices keep going up, as do the costs for basic necessities. Many people are being squeezed. But what can they do? First, they can learn how to take care of themselves and their families. A good survival course can go a long way toward this goal of [...]

I’m inconvenienced by modern conveniences much of the time. They break, they suck up money, and when their full cost and upkeep is taken into account, they don’t seem make my life much more convenient. I like pumping and carrying water more than I like dealing with tempermental plumbing systems. I like composting toilets more [...]

Long Trips And Canoe Carts

Longer canoe trips, those of the mulit-week and mulit-watershed sort, have intrigued me for some time, but there has always been the problem of long carries. Not everyone who participates in our programs is fit enough to carry an 80 or 100 pound boat several miles. So to facilitate these types of experiences, I just [...]

The 2008 fall bushcraft semester will be our 12th semester course, and the first one to run from start to finish at our new location in northern Maine on the banks of the Aroostook river. We’ve put together a schedule that takes advantage of our new location, with lots of time spent living and traveling [...]

We’re running a bushcraft canoe expedition in northern Quebec with native Cree guides again this year. It’s an amazing experience traveling with David Bosum, his wife Anna, and Lawrence Capissit, our other guide from 2007. Canoeing the historic waterways of their people and learning how they have lived off the land for thousands of years [...]

New Bushcraft Basic Kit

As the result of numerous requests for a small bushcraft kit of core components that people can bring to our courses, we’ve partnered with Ben’s Backwoods and put together a bushcraft kit of the most useful items. It consists of a Mora knife (you choose whether you want a wood or plastic handle), metal pot [...]

Back To The Blog

After 8 weeks living at our bush camp, I’m back for a short while enjoying creature comforts such as bug screens and electricity.  It was a great spring, and there is lots of work left to do there, but things are coming along well.  Look for more posts soon about our recent experiences.

New Ideas And Directions

I’ve had a lot of campfire discussions with friends, students and interns since I last had the ability to post without driving an hour.  Living outdoors for an extended period of time (in the last seven weeks I’ve spent four nights inside, on two separate trips to NH to see my family) not only hardens [...]

Fall Schedule Is Up

If you’re interested in some of our fall workshops, I’ve got our fall semester broken down into weeks and on our schedule as of today.  No, we don’t have internet in Masardis yet, but I took a trip into the Presque Isle library and have been working on it for a few hours.  The fall [...]

Last night I went through and updated each page of our website with our new address and phone number.  This morning I realized that I had written the new address on a previous blog post incorrectly.  That’s since been corrected.  Sorry for any confusion.

We wrapped up the spring Earth Skills Semester Program last week.  We finished out the course with ten days on the Allagash river, which was a great culmination to our time together.  We saw a bunch of wildlife and caught a bunch of trout on the flyrod, but nothing of significant size. Our other big [...]

I’m back for a day to pick up more gear. After a week in our new camp in Masardis, I’m completely in love with the location. We spent the week building permanent shelters, exploring the area, and exploring the river. We’ve got a new mailing address and a new phone number if you want to [...]

Off To Masardis

We’re off to our new base camp in Masardis, Maine tomorrow.  I hope to get the internet hooked up in a few weeks, but until then I won’t be posting, answering email, or doing anything else web-related.  If you need to get in touch with me, leave a message on our answering machine. Today we [...]

I saw an ad for a college today and in the photo they had as their centerpiece was a student in a lecture hall looking toward the front and acting interested. That’s a negative for me. I remember sitting through a bunch of lectures, some great, some not, but what I took away from the [...]

Open Source Education

I’ve been diligently at work writing up my ideas and plans for the Jack Mountain Bushcraft University, and have been getting feedback from our alumni about the process. The general plan is to take the academic components we’ve developed over ten semester programs and put them online for anyone, anywhere, to use. We’re putting together [...]

It was a busy day yesterday. We baked some potatoes in the sun oven, baked some sourdough biscuits in the reflector oven, waterlined and shellaced a canoe, made fish spears, caught a bunch of fish with them, built a tripod for smoking them, filleted them and smoked them as the sun sank over the horizon. [...]

New Dutch Oven

I do a lot of dutch oven cooking, but I don’t like the legs on them because I usually either hang it from a tripod or support it with fire irons. But I love the lids on the camp ovens because they have the lip that will hold coals. So I’ve been thinking about sawing [...]

I’ve taken a wide variety of wilderness medical courses around the northeast. In 2000, I took a winter medicine and rescue course at the AMC center in Pinkham Notch at the base of Mount Washington. It was a two-day course, and on many nights they have slide show presentations for the people staying there. The [...]

 


 

JMBS Programs & Sites
· Field School – Professional Training, Semester & Expedition Programs. Masardis, Maine.
· Folk School – Lodge-Based & Short Programs. Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
· Classic Wilderness Guiding – Canoe, Snowshoe & Sea Kayak Trips
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· BushcraftSchool.com – JMBS Online Learning Academy
· Jack Mountain Outfitters – Gear For The Professional Woodsman
· JMB Web Portal – Guide To All Our Programs & Sites

JMBS Master Calendar
All scheduled programs.
· JMBS Master Calendar
 
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.

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