March 2010

This morning I read an article on winter survival written by an individual who not only has no idea how to keep the body alive in the winter, but also had seemingly no experience in the cold without a truckload full of gear. It seems I have read hundreds of these, but maybe it’s only [...]

Sunday, February 4th, 2001 Woke up on my bed of fir boughs surrounded by other sleeping bodies. There are seven of us lying in a circle inside the round white tent. The only part of the tent floor not covered with prone bodies is the area next to the door and the small rectangular woodstove. [...]

Allagash falls after several days of heavy rains. A shirtless figure stands alone, shaking his fists. Shot during the fall, 2004 fall semester course on day 9 of an 11-day trip with a disposable film camera. Great shot, great trip, great guy.

This is one of my favorite photos, taken during the fall, 2003 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. It’s the St. Croix River, which is the border between Maine and New Brunswick. In the photo are two women poling solo in 18 foot canoes. It was a beautiful fall morning; cold and crisp, with warmer water generating the [...]

Safety and having several backup plans are key when planning a trip. We designed a form a number of years ago that students fill out as part of our guide training curriculum for each excursion. You can get a .pdf of it here. The procedure is simple: Fill out three copies. Keep one with you, [...]

Reflector Oven Baking

We do a lot of sourdough baking in the reflector oven when on remote trips.  It’s a great piece of low-tech, high-skill equipment that is worthless in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, but priceless in the hands of someone who does.  The best way to become proficient with it is [...]

We’ve had some great discussions about how the brain works in the learning process as part of our ongoing online course on becoming an instructor.  One aspect that we’ve only touched on briefly is the role of exercise in the learning process.  To simplify a complex subject into a soundbite, exercise is good for your [...]

Nutshimit is a word and concept from the Innu.  Previously known by the name given to them by the French, Montagnais, they inhabit a huge, sparsely populated region of Quebec and Labrador. For many Innu, life in the village is marked by idleness and a sense of loss and alienation, in strong contrast to being [...]

I’ve been thinking for several years about putting together an expedition-style course for young men where we’d spend three or four weeks in the north woods canoeing and living outdoors.  It would be a similar, although less rigorous, curriculum that we use in our college semester programs, with a focus on academic subjects such as [...]

I love to explore new places.  I’ve covered a lot of northern Maine in my canoe over the last decade, and I’ve still only scratched the surface.  Sometimes I find those special spots where no one goes, the fishing is good and there’s a beautiful place to camp.  Other times I’m hauling over beaver dams [...]

Early spring is the season of travel on remote northern rivers. Swelled with snowmelt, a canoe is able to travel where the water is too low during the summer. This is one of my favorite spots in Maine, seldom visited, far from any logging road and a long way from town or a paved road. [...]

Something we emphasize on our courses is to know yourself and how you deal with different stresses that come into play on extended trips or even when you’re just working around camp. One of the most important deals with hydration; how much water YOU need and what happens when you don’t get enough. This is [...]

When I was a kid I knew the company I wanted to work for. I knew what my job would be and the things I’d do. But I couldn’t get hired by that company because it didn’t exist. I had to build it. Here’s a timeline of some of the highlights of that journey. 1995. [...]
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