Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

Welcome to the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog. You can view the archives by category or by date under the Archives tab in the menu at the top of the page.


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 [...]

Today was the official unveiling of the new Jack Mountain Bushcraft School Journeyman Certification Workbook, a 316 page tome written by Ben Spencer over the winter. It’s big, detailed and ambitious, and just in time for the beginning of our 20th year. It’s existence has been rumored for several weeks, but was not confirmed until [...]

As the next semester gets closer, we’ve been really putting the screws to the “self” aspect of our courses. Whether it’s “mental toughness” or being able to assess your progress without outside input. These aspects are helpful to the individual student. However, on a long course like one of our nine-week semesters, nobody can successfully play [...]

We’ve had numerous calls recently regarding our pending articulation agreement with the University Of Maine At Presque Isle (UMPI). We’re still working on the process and plan to have everything set up in time for the fall (’18) semester. We understand that people have deadlines and are doing all that we can to expedite the [...]

Flying to northern Maine is about to change. The airport in Presque Isle (PQI) has had daily flights to Boston for several years with PenAir. After a recent change, they are planning to discontinue the PenAir service to Boston and add daily flights on United Airlines from Presque Isle to Newark, NJ beginning on July [...]

Magic Moments

I’m not sure whether I believe in magic, but I believe in magical moments. For me they are those moments on the trail where everything is good and seems as it should be and all is right with the world. It’s why I go back over and over, and have made a 20-year career out [...]

If you check out our Master Calendar, you’ll notice a change. Programs are now organized into terms, which are blocks of programs organized around seasonally-appropriate topics. For example, the 2019 Winter Term includes five weeks of winter programming. Each course can still be taken separately, but you can also take an entire term of programs, [...]

The Summer Woodsman course is almost full. As we’re out of open weeks during the summer to run another one, we’re introducing a new course: The Autumn Woodsman Course. We’ve been interested in offering seasonal variants of our popular weeklong woodsman course for a while, and this year we’re taking the leap. Next year (2019) [...]

Our long-term programs are mentally and emotionally challenging. We want people who attend to be aware of this, and to have the mental and emotional fortitude and maturity needed to be successful here. But this sounds like a platitude you’ve heard before, so let me explain a bit further. People attending our programs want and [...]

After a whole winter of tinkering with the design, we’re excited to announce our updated Yearlong Immersion Program. The old yearlong immersion program is now our Seasonal Immersion Program, consisting of a combination of our Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, Boreal Snowshoe Expedition and Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. This remains the foundation of the new yearlong immersion [...]

Following the trend of recent years, spots in our programs are filling earlier than ever. Here’s an update on what’s still available, in chronological order. Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, spring 2018 (April-June). 3 spots open. Bonaventure Canoe Expedition, Quebec (June). Full Summer Woodsman (July). 1 spot open. Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester (July-August). 2 spots open. Wilderness [...]

BDN Cover

There’s an article featuring Jack Mountain in the Bangor Daily News spring 2018 spring/summer special section outdoors magazine. The article, titled “The Survivor: Deep in the Maine woods, Tim Smith teaches others to survive in the wild”, gives a brief overview of what we do and has enough philosophical nuggets to make it interesting. The [...]

There’s always downtime on residential courses. Students and instructors need time to relax, work on academic homework, and process the experiences they’ve had so far. For some students, downtime is frustrating. They learn by doing and don’t want to stop. So along with improving our food systems on campus, we’ll be putting in two additions [...]

New Role: Authentic Marketing Instructor I did a phone interview a while back that the person said they were turning into an article. Then I forgot about it until yesterday, when I saw the article. I like how it turned out. The article is about authentic marketing for schools by an outfit that offers services [...]

 


 

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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