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.


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 [...]

Next weekend, March 9-11 (2018), the 26th annual Wilderness Paddlers Gathering will take place at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, Vermont. It is put on by Northern Wilderness Travelers Conferences, the same group that runs the Snow Walkers Rendezvous in the fall. I’ll be attending and putting on a workshop titled “The Moveable Feast [...]

We’ve decided on the route for the 2018 Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. We’re going with a classic that will follow the Northern Forest Canoe Trail across the crown of Maine. Starting on the Moose River near Jackman, we’ll paddle to Moosehead Lake, where we’ll turn north to Northeast Carry. We’ll carry across to the West [...]

Outdoor skills are frequently presented with a big barrier to entry in the form of price tags. Want to go hiking? Most online information you’ll find will start with advising you on the gear you need to buy first. The same ideas apply to most outdoor endeavors you might want to try your had at. Over [...]

This discussion has come up a bunch recently, so I wanted to define some terms that I use regarding celebrity outdoorsman and professional outdoorsman. A professional outdoorsman is a person who makes their living guiding, teaching, and otherwise working outdoors. A celebrity outdoorsman is a person who is well known on social media, reality tv [...]

  At it’s simplest “Active learning” is learning by doing. On our semesters, student’s make their own canoe paddles, and that’s their first big woodcarving project. They have a basic set of tools and simple instructions on how to shape a paddle from a pine board. A lot of student’s struggle at first with what [...]

On January 19, 2018 I was interviewed by Gundy on The Big Wild radio show, heard all over the midwest on the radio and the world via their podcasts. We were the first interview on this episode of the show (and the podcast). To listen, go to their website at: http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/the-big-wild-011918_121684 You can also download [...]

2018 marks our 19th year of multi-week snowshoe and toboggan expeditions. In a world where bushcraft is becoming more about the gear and knives and celebrity outdoorsmen, I’m thankful for winter expeditions. In the cold, living and traveling in the forest, the extraneous fluff falls away. What’s left is authentic and real. And that’s getting [...]

When folks think of living a self-reliant outdoor lifestyle, usually what’s envisioned is picturesque tent sites and all the things that go along with camping. However, that’s not the whole picture. A large part of living a sustainable lifestyle in the modern world is maintaining systems that provide renewable resources without damaging the land we live on. So [...]

I’ve been taking time out of each day this winter to snowshoe on some of the local trails. It’s good exercise and keeps the cabin fever at bay. It’s also where I’ve been doing most of my thinking about course curriculums for the upcoming year. Being out in the woods by yourself on a crisp [...]

Photo: Flooding a piece of cotton T-shirt with Ambroid glue and smearing it around with a dirty sock. Below are three stories about fixing canvas boats in the field. The moral of the stories is that you should know how to repair the craft you use. The more remote the trip, the better you should [...]

We’re bombarded with negativity and bad news in the modern world. So many alerts about all the deaths and evil and things to be afraid of. I’ve been moderating the information that gets attention from me for a while now, and I’m better off as a result. But I still read some news daily when [...]

The School Of The Forest now offers an email newsletter where you can stay abreast of everything going on with the Jack Mountain youth and teen program. You can sign up at the link below. Sign Up For SOTF Newsletter Here I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with you all, and keeping you in [...]

This past week I successfully passed the test to become a registered Maine sea kayak guide. It was the culmination of likely the longest testing process I’ve ever known. Let me explain. In 2000 I took and passed the written test to become a sea kayak guide. The Maine department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife [...]

First Person Ecology In The Winter Months

Well, everyone, it seems like winter’s finally here. The last three days I’ve woken up, made a quick thermos of coffee and thrown on my snowshoes for a morning hike. During those hikes, I was reminded of the stark differences in the ecosystem from season to season. We’ve talked before on the podcast about how [...]

Learning Bushcraft Skills As A Family

While I wrote up the course description for School Of The Forest’s Family Bushcraft Week, I couldn’t help but think of the families in the neighborhood I grew up in, and our yearly “backyard campout”. Once every summer, all the fathers, and their kids would pitch tents in the small common ground behind our homes [...]

Underlying every course we run at Jack Mountain and School Of The Forest are the principles of sustainable living, and building a lifestyle that is closer to the land. We talk about it in passing during courses, but when programs are running at the field school, students are living those principles every day. From composting, [...]

Making Exploration Personal

JMBS Instructors

Hello everybody, Christopher Russell here again. Yesterday after a big Thanksgiving meal, I started thinking about exploration. I’ve been rereading “In northern mists” by Fridtjof Nansen lately. The book is a history of Arctic exploration, but Nansen spends a lot of time talking about the inherent human urge to wander throughout history and prehistory. The [...]

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 [...]

Moose Calling At Night

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 [...]

 


 

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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