Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog

blueberry season

It’s that time of year in northern Maine where the bushes are loaded with ripe fruit. Wherever you look there are cherries, berries and apples weighing down the branches on which they grow. For the next six weeks, the season of bounty in the county, we’ll be feasting on wild foods, learning about them as [...]

I’ve worked hard for and waited a long time to be about to say this. We’re all set up with the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Credits for courses, financial aid & more. Read more on the UMPI website or on the Jack Mountain website.

  On a recent overnight on trail for the 2019 “Riverman” program, I got to thinking about how great food always tastes in the bush, and mentally waxing philosophical about why that is. There are obvious factors, like working physically hard all day and building up and appetite, or that it’s just a pavlovian effect [...]

Life at the field school is a chance to see what living with low infrastructure looks like in practice. This provides students with an opportunity to get insight into our systems and how, when they’re managed well, life is pretty easy. However, those systems require careful management in order to function properly. The property is [...]

I’m happy to announce that we’ve just awarded three new Journeyman Certifications. Congratulations to Anthony Damiano, Max Lawrence and Jeremy Marcotte. It requires a mountain of work, dedication and documentation to achieve the Journeyman Certification. Each of these men have done the work. You have earned our respect and the certification that goes along with [...]

I’ve been adding information to the Brushfire Rendezous page. Coming in October (10/11-10/13), Brushfire is a 3-day rendezvous celebrating a life close to the land in northern Maine. Not an instructional course, it will be more of gathering of like minds and shared interests. I’ve changed the pricing structure to $45 for the 3 days [...]

While we were out on our final trip of the spring semester the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast passed a big milestone; 100,000 downloads. I’m not one to study the statistics or demographics and stress over getting more listeners. I never have been. But I’m excited that so many people are interested in what we’re doing. [...]

We just finished the spring 2019 semester, and it’s good to be back home for a spell before we jump into the summer programming at Jack Mountain and School Of The Forest. The semester was a challenging one for students. Spring in northern Maine is a tough time to be on the land. It’s cold [...]

It’s been a busy nine weeks, but now the parking lot is empty and the field school is quiet. Our 47th long-term program and the first half of our 21st year are complete. A few thoughts about the semester: The new digital assessment system worked amazingly well. Based in Google Docs, students were able to [...]

As of today the Riverman course in July is full. We still have a few spots left for the summer woodsman and fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester course, but they won’t last long. Our big news is that we will no longer be running folk school programs at our location in New Hampshire as we’re selling [...]

Baby Beaver

I went to pick up the new outhouse for the riverside camp yesterday afternoon. On the way back, I saw a beaver sitting next to a ditch on the side of the road. We stopped and it walked into the water, then swam away into the woods up the stream. One of the guys spotted [...]

Poling a canoe is a difficult thing to learn. It’s even more difficult to teach. We have a series of exercises and situations we run people through, but it takes some time before the lessons sink in and people start to get it. When it finally happens, the “a-ha” moment is visible. They stop fighting [...]

Peter Frost was a 2004 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester student at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. This amazing story really happened and illustrates the usefulness of getting out every day, if only for a little while. Tracking A Fisher This morning we were very fortunate. The conditions were ideal for tracking. Early last night, an inch [...]

I’m writing this on Sunday morning, May 5th, in the Guide Shack. It’s a clear blue sky outside and batteries of our off-grid solar power system were fully charged at 8 am. We’re one week into the spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester course, and spring is just starting to get some momentum. The birdsong is loud [...]

You haven’t been hearing from us much lately. Now, with the spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester just over a week away, I’ll explain why. I’ve been busy migrating our student workbooks and our assessment system from paper to digital. This means that starting this spring, students on the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester can document everything from their [...]

We’re excited to announce the official partnership between the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School and the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI). After a lot of legwork, we’re partnering up to offer direct credit for UMPI students, and to offer transfer credits to students from other universities. The paperwork has been signed, the approval agency [...]

Last week School Of The Forest partnered with the New Hampton School for their yearly “Project week”. New Hampton students pitch a lot of different potential ideas for the week, and then participate in whichever is selected. I had a great time running this program, and because New Hampton is a boarding school, getting to [...]

I just returned from a fantastic week on the land with my Cree friends David and Anna Bosum. I mention them by name, but there were many other people who worked and visited with us during the week. It’s such a unique experience, to be welcomed into their culture and learn about their life in [...]

I’m headed out for our winter term, which means 3 weeks in the woods for our Winter Woodsman course and the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. Then I’ve got just a few days before leaving for northern Quebec to spend a week on the land with my old friends David and Anna Bosum. February is my favorite [...]

Although we’ll be adding to it (because no website is ever done, they’re always in process), we’ve got the skeleton of the 2019-2020 Yearlong Immersion Program (YIP) on the web. We’ve got a lot of details to add, but the dates, tuition and general idea for the program is on the YIP page. In a [...]

Having business liability insurance is one thing that sets the professionals apart from the hobbyists. Nowhere is this more true than in the bushcraft/survival/outdoor space. If you’re charging money for your programs or trips, you should carry a business liability policy. We get a lot of questions regarding where to find affordable insurance for bushcraft [...]

2019 Winter Programs Full

Our upcoming winter programs, The Winter Woodsman Course, The Boreal Snowshoe Expedition and our trip to northern Quebec for the Winter Living With Cree Hunters trip are all currently full. We’re no longer accepting registrations, but if you’re interested contact us to be placed on a waiting list.

Riverside Classroom

Gina Beach is a former teacher, current world traveler (by bicycle) and all-around impressive and accomplished young woman. I had the good fortune of having her in the fall, 2018 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester course. She publishes a great blog and the Saturn Returns podcast, and she’s been posting podcast interviews she conducted with other people [...]

Big crafting projects are important on our courses at Jack Mountain and School Of The Forest. Not only do students get to make a completely functional piece of kit that they’ll actively use during the course, but they start to understand something about what it means to live an outdoor life.  On a recent semester, [...]

Hanging a pot over an open fire is a great way to cook outdoors. Over the years we’ve experimented with a wide variety of pot suspension systems and have arrived at four criteria by which to judge them. As we’re often cooking for and with groups of ten or more people, it’s important to note [...]

I’ve been rereading some of Bill Riviere’s books lately and am reminded of why I hold his work in such high esteem. A registered Maine guide who worked on the Maine border patrol during World War 2, he was also a prolific writer. Here’s his take on throwing knives from Backcountry Camping: On TV and [...]

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