Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

lifting canoe over logs

We are back at the field school after our first expedition of the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. It was challenging. We encountered cold air and water temperatures, strong and unyielding head winds, and a few long days of paddling. But everyone got better and everyone got stronger. On our final day we paddled 28 miles. [...]

lakeside sunrise

We’re at the tail end of the first week of our spring canoe semester. I had been worried that the road wouldn’t be passable for week one, and although we were able to drive into camp it was a close call. This time of year in Aroostook county can bring a variety of weather, from [...]

Note: This post was originally published on this site in December, 2010. I was rereading it this morning and thought the modern world could use a good role model for self reliance, one that wasn’t interested in selling them guns, survival gear and an end of the world mentality. —- I’ve been writing a lot [...]

Today we begin the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester, our 4-week canoe guide training course. It is our 58th long-term program, and our 24th year. Spring has been slow to arrive to Aroostook county, but the snow has retreated and we can finally drive into the field school (it is deep snow that stops us, not [...]

We filled our spring and summer courses exceptionally early this year, and now we’re into the season of the churn. The churn is what I refer to as the season where people realize they will be unable to attend due to injury, change in life situation, etc. To date this year we have lost 2 [...]

If you want to learn to fish, there are four steps. Learn about water, specifically freshwater ecology. Learn the natural history of fish in general, as well as the individual species you are targeting. Learn about what fish eat and how to mimic these foods. Learn about tackle and techniques. In our modern world, people [...]

We are excited to announce the route for the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester coming in May. For the past decade we have been running this program during the summer, which has limited where we could go to those waterways that had water during the frequent summer droughts. By moving it back to May, it has [...]

Spring is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to an exciting month on the remote rivers of northern Maine in May on the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. We get a lot of questions about recommended fishing gear for our spring programs, so today I want to address this. While we do have fly [...]

I just finished a 7-day fast where the only things I took in were water and strong black coffee (because weak coffee is the devil). I have done a bunch of these, stretching back to the mid-1990’s, and while there is a renewed interest in fasting as a result of the intermittent fasting diets, it [...]

Enrollment Update For 2023

Programs are filling earlier than usual for 2023. While we still have some short programs to schedule, the following programs are currently full with a waiting list: Winter Woodsman Boreal Snowshoe Expedition XI 6 Month immersion WCES – 4 week canoe expedition Wilderness Bushcraft Semester – Session 1 We still have four spots in session [...]

I had a great trip to Alberta for the Frostbite Symposium. For my keynote I talked about using instructional design principles in designing outdoor education programming. There was a lively Q and A session at the end of the talk, which always feels good if you are speaking. At least some of the audience managed [...]

I finished my Wilderness First Responder course today and have a current certification more advanced than first aid in a long time. Part of my motivation for taking the course was to learn how the protocols had changed in the 27 years since getting my WEMT. It turns out that while a few of the [...]

I am taking a wilderness first responder (WFR) class this week. I have wanted to take one for a while now, but finding the time to get away is always a challenge. As we’re still in the shadow of the holidays, this seemed like a perfect opportunity. My first medical course was a wilderness emergency [...]

This time of year we’re bombarded with ads about getting someone the perfect gift. A smaller subset of those ads suggest that we give an experience rather than a tangible item. If you are looking for that gift for the outdoors-person, consider joining us in February for an immersion experience in Cree culture with our [...]

Are you thinking about joining us for a course in 2023? After reading through our site, many people have questions. And we have answers! Want to talk with us? Jump on one of our Office Hours Question & Answer sessions on our community platform at BushcraftSchool.com. Next session takes place on Tuesday, December 20th at [...]

Foundations Of Outdoor Cooking, lesson 1, video screenshot

Our new online course, Foundations Of Outdoor Cooking (Cooking 401), is live on our community platform at BushcraftSchool.com. Currently there are three lessons available, with a few more ready to go. The plan is to release five lessons per week, with a total of around 30 lessons. The goal of the course is to provide [...]

I have been fielding a lot of questions about snowshoe sizing recently, and wanted to put something down regarding getting the optimum size for your body weight. I am on the record as saying I don’t like modern snowshoes because they are usually too small, especially for bigger people. They come from the mountaineering tradition, [...]

Frostbite symposium logo

This January (2023) I’m headed to Alberta to speak at the Frostbite Winter Camping Symposium. The event is a celebration of living and traveling outdoors in the north during the winter, with lots of instructional programs and experienced people. As hot tent camping and traditional winter travel skills have exploded in popularity in recent years, [...]

After a 2 year hiatus due to covid, we’re back to running winter programs in 2023 and couldn’t be more excited about it. Since there was no way to social distance inside of a hot tent, the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition (BSE), a program we started running way back in 2003, took a two-year break. I [...]

Mora #106 with a leather sheath

For about 20 years I have recommended the Mora Classic #2 for courses. After using a different knife for the past four years I think it’s time to update my recommendation to be inline with what I use on a daily basis; The Morakniv Wood Carving Knife 106. The Mora 106 is a smaller carving [...]

I’m in Austin, Texas, until the New Year. I’m here a month or two each year, as my kids are in school here. Last winter I met Chris Hyde, the founder the Natureversity Outdoor School here in Austin. This morning we sat down and recorded an episode (21) for the Natureversity Podcast. Here’s a link [...]

File this under alumni doing awesome things. Pat Wilson was a student on the spring semester and stayed on to work with me this summer. He started talking about doing a big canoe trip before winter, and got it in his head to canoe the length of the Mississippi river. After lots of planning and [...]

2023 Calendar Changes

I just posted our schedule for 2023. There are a few changes compared to recent years. First, we won’t be offering a Wilderness Guide Training Semester. Instead, we’ll be offering the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester (WBS) twice. They have been the same course all along, but we’re going to eliminate any confusion by changing the name [...]

Today we begin our summer term at the field school with the Summer Woodsman course, followed next week with the Canoe Expedition Skills course. After a short break for the 4th of July, we move into the 4-week Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. It’s a busy summer schedule. But it doesn’t feel much like summer in [...]

On May 11, 2022, our fly fishing director Paul Sveum published an article in the Orvis News titled “5 Bushcraft Tips For Anglers.” I really enjoyed reading it, as will you if you click through (link). I always enjoy Paul’s writing style, and it’s great to see him getting recognition for both his fishing and [...]

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