Learning the way of the axe while gathering firewood to cook with.
Photos And Updates From The Field
Long but great first day, ready for sleep before 7pm. Glad I have my JB pillow case for a great night's sleep.
Big pan of breakfast on a big rocket stove. First morning of the semester.
Back to snow in the county. Semester 35 starts tomorrow.
Barehand fishing: no hook, no net, no spear.
Busy morning in the woods, but this calm water caught my eye.
Open water, getting that canoeing itch!
We lost one of the greats today. RIP Steve Watts. A true gentleman.
Ice is out on the pond. Earliest I ever remember having open water.
Tapping trees and boiling sap into maple syrup with a bunch of kids. Bucket with lid in the foreground.
Home. Morning coffee with kids and dog. There's no greater comfort than coming home to family.
End of the trip, back to the world. Farewell winter! #bushcraft #woodslife #guidetraining
Old man winter on the ice. Last full day of 4 weeks in the woods this winter, coldest day yet.
Bitter cold and windy, need the chisel to open the water hole. #guidetraining #woodslife #bushcraft
Sleet is over, now getting ready for the deep freeze and cooking supper. #woodslife #guidetraining #bushcraft
Tentbound. This is our view as we listen to the sleet and rain fall. Glad to have a big pile of firewood.
Setting up a hot-tent camp alongside of a lonely, frozen lake. #guidetraining #bushcraft
On the trail hand-hauling toboggans on a beautiful Boreal Snowshoe Expedition day. #guidetraining #bushcraft
Tracking a fisher on the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. Size, toes and C-shaped palm pad are keys.
Breakfast of oats and coffee in the woods. #winter #guidetraining #bushcraft
Loading sleds and jumping off on the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, session 2.
Next to an open lead on the Aroostook River, checking the ice with a chisel.
Making improvised snowshoes at a remote camp.
Assembling a toboggan for next week's trip with Derek Faria and Paul Sveum. Great company in the workshop!
Up early to surprise my family with a loaf of dutch oven sourdough bread. Out of the oven while kids were waking up.
60 degree F temperature swing in 30 hours. -15 yesterday morning, 45 and rainy now. Glad I'm not on the trail today.
Group shelter built last week. A warm home in the frozen forest.
Frozen 48 over, celebrating with dutch oven doughnuts. They're as good as they look!
Checking the pipe on a permanent wall tent.
Three-strake toboggan in its native habitat.
Snow all day, rain tonight, but we're warm and dry. Challenging conditions for travel, so we'll base camp until the weather changes.
Cozy camp next to a frozen lake. Great trip so far. Smiles all around.
Part of our fleet of homemade toboggans and sleds. Loading up and hitting the trail.
Pre-contact routes of travel in New Brunswick and northern Maine. Our field school is near the "A" in the word "Maliseets". This map, combined with the map in the book "Indian Canoe Routes Of Maine" gives a rough idea of the many canoe/snowshoe routes through the region. More on the old trails of New Brunswick [...]
Old photo of my youngest and another use for a pack basket. The kid is six years older now and that basket has been retired.
Lucky dog posing in front of the Jack Mountain Expedition Tent. The more I use this tent, the more I like it.
Honing a knife on a ceramic coffee cup. Coffee + sharpening on a Sunday morning.
A roaring fire chasing away the chill.
Enjoying the warmth of the expedition tent and stove at the end of a long day.
Delicious 'shore lunch' cooked by Derek Faria today. Open fire food just tastes better.
Doughnuts draining on a bed of fir boughs.
Walking at sunset, spied the clouds reflecting on the ice.
Shave horse workshop a big success. Six finished horses and a few cheap laughs.
Grave of a Revolutionary War soldier, deep in the woods and a mile from any road, and every veterans day someone puts a flag on it. #respect
Review of our campfire cooking class by Anne from Mom Can You Make, a NH food blog: GALA Campfire Cooking Workshop | On November 4th, my good friend Rosalie and I went to a campfire cooking workshop put on by GALA. Have any of my NH friends heard of GALA? Well they are just an [...]
Aroostook twilight at the field school.
Plotting a course on the map with a Sher-Wood straight edge.
Best part about going away is coming home to family. Mine makes me feel like the richest man in the world.
What if you don't have an ice chisel? Cutting a water hole in the ice with an axe.
Checking the ice with a chisel. The water here is only 2 feet deep, but ice safety is no joke.
Building a runnered sled for around camp, old skis for runners.
Successful night in front of a fire with no sleeping bag.
Simple snowshoe binding. Walked 2000+ miles with these.
Shelter/sauna with raised bough beds on the Winter Woodsman course.
Hauling firewood on the money sled.
Coffee and doughnuts on the fire this morning, winter woodsman course.
Hiking the trails at the field school.
Aroostook river at the field school.
Braintan workshop day 2: 6 hides scraped and dressed, 3 fleshed and salted, pulling all afternoon, 3 tired guys.
Braintanning this AM: fleshing a deer hide in the rain.
Boys, dog and I hiked to the bridge and had hot chocolate to celebrate black Friday.
Dutch oven turkey on the bottom, apple cake on top, and lot's to be thankful for.
Saw my friend who butchers deer today, left with 9 hides. Braintan class this weekend, plus a few for me.
Gloomy day, stunning sunset over Rust Pond.
First look at the new Jack Mountain Expedition tent made by Tentsmiths. Details coming soon.
White pine burl at The Woodsman School. Stopped into see Derek Faria and spent a rainy afternoon in front of a fire.
Mist on lake Winni this morning, water like glass.
Rust Pond, named after Henry Rust. Here's the cellar hole of his house built in 1773.
Son and I taking advantage of warm fall weather. This view became the Jack Mountain logo.
Calm before the storm; cooked for 22 people tonight at the campfire cooking workshop. Good times and good food.
Sublime twilight on Rust Pond. Still water reflects blue sky, makes me reflective too.
Long-term bushcraft program number 32 successfully completed. Home with family in NH.
Full house on the cook stove. Cook shack is a luxury during cold weather.
Brown ash basketry in camp today. Some pack baskets, some smaller baskets. #poundedash
1st aid/CPR in camp this AM. It's a requirement to become a registered Maine guide.
Pounding brown ash for basket splints. Lots of 'pounding ash' jokes flying around camp right now.
Splitting a brown ash log with wooden wedges, to be pounded into pack basket splints.
Felling a large brown ash for pack basket splints.
Putting wood in the stove. Cook shack at the JMB field school.
Atlatl practice. The original big game hunting tool.
Jack Mountain Bushcraft School instructor and Maine Guide Paul Sveum poling his 18' EM White wood canvas boat on a lower West Branch of the Penobscot deadwater at twilight.
From our recent trip to Baxter and Debsconeag. Later afternoon sun with Mount Katahdin in the background. And the work horse of our canoe fleet, the 18' Prospector from Nova Craft Canoe. After beating up on them for 14 years, I can say with some authority it's simply an awesome boat.
Moose season. Scraping moose hides in the rain at 7AM.
Softening braintanned deer hides in camp today.
After a week on the trail we're starting the braintanning process today. End of week 5 of the WBS, time is flying by.
Spring water bubbling up under a big spruce tree. Cold and pure.
Crystal clear waters of Rust Pond. I never want to live where the water isn't amazing. Spoiled.
Congratulations to the newest Registered Maine Guide, Benjamin Spencer!
Firing up the smoker this afternoon. Big fancy dinner tonight.
Custom made Guide Canteen for Fil Salonek's Allagash-AT expedition. Alumni services, trail support.
Hand drill fire lighting. Old School.
9-11. Listenened to The radio news this AM. They were reading names, they read 5, including the guy I knew who was on the plane on 9/11/01.
Took a ride to check out a new course location. Quoddy Head lighthouse, easternmost point in the USA.
Solos are over. Welcoming everyone back to camp with a dutch oven triple stack. 17", 16" and 14" deep.
Low-tech gravity fed solar water heater. Elevated barrel and coil of black pipe. Used for washing dishes and people.
Shaving a canoe paddle blade down with a draw knife. Finishing paddles today, headed out paddling tomorrow.
Primitive rope making with hand spinners this morning. Low-tech and it just works.
Bushcraft Tool Kit.
Newly made crooked knife starting work on a canoe paddle.
Flatwater poling today. Traditional skills and gear make you more resilient on the water.
Bending crooked knife blades in camp today. Photo by Paul Sveum.
New addition to the field school: weight lifting/pull-up station. Made from lumber.
Dutch oven lunch, then canoe poling class on a perfect August day.
Week 1, Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, everyone makes their own rope.
Paul harvesting overhead cherries using a Blickey Stick. There's a mountain of ripe wild food around here right now.
Using axes in the woods. Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, fall 2015, day 2.
Maine Wilderness Guides Organization life member certificate finally arrived. Its official.
Talking axes on day 1 of our 32nd long term program. Great start to the course. Photo by Paul Sveum.
Paddling in the North Maine Woods. This is what freedom looks like.
Moose and calf on the Allagash. Summer is just about over. Our 32nd immersion course starts this weekend.
Lining Long Lake dam wearing really short shorts.
Best view in NH? On Rattlesnake Island on lake Winnepesaukee with an old friend. Perfect evening.
Watching and listening to a thunderstorm approach. A grand spectacle. Thunder rumbling from horizon to horizon.
Paddling at the headwaters of the Aroostook. From this spring.
Little Allagash Falls. Allagash stream below the falls has a few rapids and several ledge drops, and we ran them all.
After the Ice Caves, enjoying the current in the pools above the larger drop at Little Allagash Falls. This is roughly halfway between Allagash Lake and Chamberlain Lake.
Exploring the Ice Caves at Allagash Lake on our recent trip. A few of the guys got 100 yards in. These are pretty remote, no roads anywhere near them, but one one of the old canoe routes.
Just upstream of Stair Falls on the upper East Branch of the Penobscot. Over the three miles downstream from here the river drops over four named falls and a series of rapids. The mountain scenery on this trip is the best in Maine.
Gravel Beach on Chamberlain Lake, Allagash Wilderness Waterway. We spent a day windbound here on our recent trip.
Allagash Falls – boyband album cover, 2 of 2. Displaying their more playful side.
Allagash Falls – boyband album cover photo. This is 1 of 2 and shows their sensitive side.
Congratulatins to Maine's newest registered guide, Thomas Letchworth!
Chamberlain Lake Cairns. Someone had built these two cairns on the shore of Chamberlain lake, and I got in touch with my inner artist at sundown for this shot. I thought it looked interesting.
Just before sunrise on Webster Lake on our second trip of the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. A stunning corner of Baxter State Park.
Hardest part of any long-term program is saying goodbye at the end. You become family. It's the worst for me. #team
Back from the river. EPIC trip. Hate whats coming next. Allready miss these guys.
Going off the grid and on the river. Be back in four weeks.
My friend Charlie's motorcycle with moose antlers mounted. Welcome to Ashland, Maine.
Meal and trip planning for 4 week canoe expedition tonight. Packing tomorrow, put in on Tuesday. Great group, going to be an awesome trip.
Lakeside foraging on ripe juneberries (Amelanchier genus). It doesn't get much better than this.
Stunning pack basket I was given on Sunday. Thanks to Derek Faria of The Woodsman School. You're a true class act.
Motorcycle with axe and pack basket lashed on, headed south from the field school.
Spending the day with family in the Ossipee mountains. Great views of the NH lakes region. At Castle In The Clouds
Great fly fishing class tonight. Thanks to Sumner Brook Fish Farm for hosting. Tight loops!
New wannigan. Instead of just varnish, this one is first getting fiberglass cloth and West System epoxy. Super strong
This afternoon's fly fishing workshop is full. If the lightning is bad, we'll reschedule. If its just rain, its on.
Just watched this guy swim across the pond. Don't know the species, but a great swimmer!
Rainy day, but first one in ten weeks I'm not running a course. Getting excited about the canoe expedition.
Finishing a pack basket. One of many projects being completed this afternoon, the last one on the Woodsman course.
Making a burn bowl by the campfire. Super-productive week on the Woodsman course.
Fire by friction with a bow drill. One of the technologies that got us where we are as a species.
15 minutes later, some dirt and a piece of angle iron cut in half, and the new rocket stove is cooking lunch.
Making a new rocket stove for our outdoor kitchen. Metal can, stove pipe, hammer and cold chisel.
Making rope with hand spinners. Back to the basics.
Building saw frames and getting ready for the rain, JMBS Woodsman Course.
Woodsman course, tents in the field. Off to a busy start with the four axe majors and carving bow drills.
Primitive tool kit as final project. Stick a fork in our 30th long-term immersion program, it's done.
Crossbow as a final project. Wilderness Bushcraft Semester # 30, nine weeks almost over.
Two epic days canoeing the Big Machias river and Pratt Stream. Big water & tons of wildlife.
Pulling braintan buckskin on a cable. This is where the magic transformation happens: from slimy hide to buckskin.
Beginning the braintanning process today: fleshing and scraping deer hides. Will eventually become mukluks.
Full rain buckets, 2nd day of rain. Always amazed at the human response to weather. Can quickly crush group morale.
Pouring rain and 49 degrees. June in northern Maine.
Out enjoying the 2.3 miles of new trails at the field school. Aroostook river on the left.
Finishing a pack basket. Wilderness Bushcraft Semester week 7 is full of big craft projects
Shave horse, spoke shave, wood becoming a canoe paddle. Hand tools and going slow.
First-time paddle maker, turned out beautiful.
Wilderness Bushcraft Semester week 7: nets, hammocks, paddles and pack baskets.
5 large ice creams. i saw it live. True story.
Only the chosen one can wield The Spoon Of Destiny!
There's a new sherriff in town. Iron Spoon challenge met. This is large ice cream number 5.
Making a spoon from rebar in order to take on the Iron Spoon Challenge: 4 large ice creams from the Quik Stop 2.
May 23, snowing hard and fast in Masardis. Glad I waited on putting in the garden.
Making grass mattresses. Good sleeps on the grass-o-pedic.
And a whole bunch of live moose, bald eagles and a whole family of otters.
Saw two more dead moose on our trip. One was in the river.
Back, a week on the river. Awesome time. 60 miles from the headwaters to the field school. Photo from a woods road.
Paddle making: using draw knives to shape the blanks. Hand tools, process not product.
Beginning the canoe paddle-making process: tracing a blade onto a paddle blank.
Life Returns. Every year when green returns after a long winter I'm completely amazed.
After a long build up, my son and I are sitting down to watch the movie Troll 2, the worst movie (supposedly) ever made.
Land navigation exercise this morning: map, compass and barehand.
Making rope for canoe lining bridles. Poling the Blackwater River this afternoon.
After a long day paddling, cooking a triple stack of dutch ovens for supper. Sourdough, spicy chicken, custard.
First day on the water for 2015. Beautiful sunny day, still some ice.
Beautiful day, had my first outdoor shower of the year. Feeling clean! Solar hot water, hoist a bucket.
Windy and rainy lately, so we made a windbreak/raincoat for dutch oven cooking out of blocks and a barrel lid.
Found a dead moose halfway up the mountain. He hadn't been dead long.
Great hike up Deboulie mountain in the north Maine woods Saturday. Still some pockets of deep snow.
Finished crooked knife. Heated in an open fire, shaped with a file.
Making buck saws. Carry the blade, make the rest in the forest.
Coal burning a burl to make a wooden bowl. The slow way to make a container.
Bending crooked knives, heated in a small rocket stove. No forge, simple knife making.
Cutting the bevel on a crooked knife in progress. Making simple knives during week 2 of the WB semester.
Bow drill fire lighting this morning. Newly-carved sets and challenging cold and damp conditions.
Great weekend in New Brunswick with my old friend Jeff Butler from Northwoods Survival. Good talks. Inspiring.
Field school rocket stoves. Snow is melting in open spots. Still deep in the bush, but not for long.
Open fire lunch on the snow. Bannock, soup, coffee and tea.
Our 30th bushcraft semester course begins today. And yes, there's a story behind this photo.
Ice is going out on the Aroostook. 7 foot snow drifts on the road. We'll be walking in for a while.
Canoe, Pack Basket, Axe. Traditional Maine Guide tools.
Dome Thatched With Fir Boughs. Built a few years back during a fall semester.
Wall Tents At The Field School. One week until the spring semester begins, getting excited.
Morning Paddle. These days will be here soon. Ice is melting!
Snow is melting and I'm thinking dangerous thoughts. Is this the year we canoe the Mosie river?
Breakfast In Camp. Eggs and sourdough biscuits.
End Of The Carry. End of the carry around Munsungun Falls in the north Maine woods.
Canoe Tarp Shelter. Traditional gear on a north Maine woods river trip.
Twenty Footer Rigged To Carry. Paddles lashed in to help distribute the weight of the boat when it's on my shoulders.