Tim Smith

Bridge And Snow

This weekend we begin our 26th semester program. Today I'm packing up the truck and canoe trailer. Tonight I'll be watching my kids perform in a play, and tomorrow I'll be heading to the field school. It will be a challenging beginning to the course because the dirt road in from the pavement is still […] Read More

Categories: General, Long-Term Programs

This is about 5 years old, shot at the field school. The area where we're cutting trees is now all a field. View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

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Also some new snow and ice. Spring is coming. View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

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Get a sneak peak at www.schooloftheforest.com View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Just bought a round for the bar #unionhockey View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Tinder Bundle Blowing

The next workshop in the Self Reliance Workshop Series is on lighting fires using a bow drill. It takes place May 14th in Ossipee, New Hampshire. You can sign up or get more information on the GALA website […] Read More

Categories: General, Videos

Fishing Below Allagash Falls

I'm packing up my gear and headed out to our fly fishing workshop in an hour.  It's part of our monthly self reliance workshop series we're running with GALA.  We'll be going over gear, knots, casting and as much about fish habits and bugs as time will allow. So far this workshop series has been […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Can't wait to read Randy Spencer's new book.  A fantastic writer, I loved his first book, all about guiding in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections from a Master Maine Fishing Guide: Randy Spencer: 9781628736397: Amazon.com: Books Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections from a Master Maine Fishing Guide [Randy Spencer] […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Cook Fire

Our summer calendar for 2014 is much different than in years past due to moving the 4-week Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester from May to July-August. Because of this move, I'll be out on the river during the period we usually run several week-long summer programs. As a result, the summer programs have been scaled back. […] Read More

Categories: Courses, General

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Wolfeboro bay and town docks on March 28th, from the Upper Deck bar.  I stepped out onto the patio during a break in the NCAA hockey tournament. View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Online Store Fail

Eroded Riverbank

For a year in the mid-2000's we ran a small online store. It was never our desire to make the Cabela's brothers nervous, but selling a few items that were of use to our students seemed like a good idea at the time. It worked out well, but there was one issue that made us […] Read More

Categories: General

Expedition travel insurance.  Great post with a list of resources to check for quotes. Expedition Travel Insurance Expedition travel insurance is a topic about which I have been receiving a lot of emails recently. People struggling to get cover for trips of a long duration, particularly cycling tours, but also ... View this post on […] Read More

Categories: Updates

John King, Snow And Neally Axes

This is the winter that won't give up.  Although the weather has warmed in the past week, we're still under its thumb.  There's an ice storm forecast for tonight, with freezing rain continuing until mid-morning on Saturday.  Because of this I'm cancelling the Bushcraft Fundamentals class scheduled for tomorrow. If you haven't already gotten a […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Frozen NH Lake After A Thaw

Right after I finished high school I played in a summer hockey league at Hockey Town, USA on Route 1 north of Boston. If you're familiar with the area, it's in Saugus just down the hill from the Hilltop Steakhouse's giant cactus. On my team, the Cossacks, there was only one other guy my age, […] Read More

Categories: General

Chiseling A Water Hole

We've got two last-minute open spots for the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester starting April 20th and running through June 21st. After repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact a person who had registered for the upcoming semester, and someone dropping out of the course, I've opened those spots up. So although we've been full for several months, if […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Snubbing On Smoothwater

Royalex, the tough and forgiving plastic material that has become a standard with canoe manufacturers everywhere, is no more. They stopped making it a year ago, and the canoes for sale now are the final ones that will be available. There will be Royalex boats available used for the foreseeable future because it's so tough […] Read More

Categories: Gear, General

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Sunset on a chickee in the Everglades.  It was camp for the night.  Just after the sun set, the mosquitoes came out.  The sound was deafening until a few hours after sunset.  It picked up again at dawn.  I would not venture into the Everglades without bug netting.  View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Mud Season

With the exception of a few short stints in school I've spent my entire life living on private roads. Before you think I'm getting uppidy, I need to explain that there are two different types of private road. In fancy and affluent places such as Palm Beach or the Hamptons, a private road means pavement […] Read More

Categories: General

April 2014 News

Sunset on a chickee in the Everglades.

Photo: Sunset on a chickee in the Everglades. Camp for the night. Highlights: Upon returning from the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition in mid-February, I immediately started packing for the trip south. My departure was delayed by several snow storms, but I made it to Florida and my wife, kids and I had family vacation, after which […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Closing down shop for the day.  Headed to town to watch NCAA hockey tournament at the bar.  View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Croix river (ME/NB, not MN).  Been there many times.  Amazing to see the logs going downriver.  Thanks to Bull Moose Patrol for the find - facebook.com/BullMoosePatrol View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Out of print for several years  but a great primer for hot tent winter camping, this book is available again from the authors.  Available Again!!!!!!!! - North Woods Ways | Facebook After three long years of being unavailable the Snow Walker's Companion is back in circulation. (With luck this will inspire the scalpers on Amazon […] Read More

Categories: Updates

I'm sorry I missed this one.  Looks awesome, and great job in the video, Paul.  There will be more Jack Mountain Bushcraft School alumni trips in the future. View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

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Boreal Snowshoe ExpeditionReshared post from +ryan holt View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

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Cook pot reflector oven.  We didn't bring a reflector oven on the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, but we baked bannock every day.  There are a variety of ways to bake without an oven, such as using a cook pot as an oven as this photo demonstrates.  In my cook kit, the pie pans just fit inside […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Twilight At The Water Hole

I'm cancelling the School Of The Forest class, scheduled for Saturday, March 15th. Even though the most recent storm didn't drop the predicted ten inches of snow, there's still too much of it to run an effective class. The combination of nowhere to park (because of snow), inability to get to the outhouses without snowshoes, […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Courses, General

50 days of pemmican-only diet for 2 consecutive snowshoe expeditions.  Just spent 2 weeks with Jerrel Friesen.  He's doing a diet experiment this winter of 50 consecutive days eating pemmican as he snowshoes across Maine and Minnesota.  More info, and his recipe, at: Embedded Link Pemmican Preparing for 50 days of Pemmican by Jarell Friesen […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Pulling Toboggans

I just returned from our 14-day Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. It was a fantastic trip with the best weather I've ever had when out for more than a week in the winter. Constant cold, clear skies, and one big snowstorm. Most importantly, there was no thaw, that bit of winter weather I dislike the most when […] Read More

Categories: General, Trip Journals, Videos

See how we did it for 14 days in sub-zero temperatures.  View this post on Google+ […] Read More

Categories: Updates

February 2014 News

Porky In A Hemlock

Highlights: We're starting February with the School Of The Forest on the first of the month. When the class is over, we're loading up the truck with sleds, tents, stoves and other gear and heading to the county for the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. We'll be in the woods for 2 weeks. When the course ends, […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Convertible Wedge Tent

We're running the February School Of The Forest class on Saturday, February first. We've added the class handouts to the SOTF page. Click on course date from the yellow box on the left to download a pdf about that day. For the February first class, you can also get the information sheet by clicking this […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Courses, General

On A Frozen Lake

In this podcast I'm joined by Robbie and Yukon to talk about our upcoming Boreal Snowshoe Expedition, their plans to continue on to Minnesota for another snowshoe expedition, trip preparations, whether we'll have cable tv in the bush, and if so, what size tv we'll have. During the podcast we mention the video these two […] Read More

Categories: General, Podcast

DownEast Magazine cover

In the February, 2014 issue of DownEast Magazine there's a big article on the military veterans that attended the fall, 2013 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. The article focuses on their transition from active duty to civilian life. There's a bunch of stuff on Jack Mountain, such as the quotation below, but the focus is squarely on […] Read More

Categories: General, In The Media

Winter Camp, Northern Maine

It's no secret that I love the winter. When the mercury drops and the snow falls, most people leave the forests, not to return again until spring unless taken there by a gas-powered contrivance of some sort. It makes even a few acres of woodlot feel like a vast wilderness when the wind is howling […] Read More

Categories: General, Quotations

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In 2004 we had a few (fewer than 40) oilskin baseball caps made up. They've since become highly sought after collector's items. I hadn't thought about getting any more made, but was contacted this summer by the wife of an old friend, who was also one of the few to have an original hat. She […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Gear, General

What would you do after a 2-week, northern Maine snowshoe expedition? If you answered head directly to Minnesota to go on another multi-week snowshoe expedition, you think just like the guys doing our yearlong immersion program. Boundary Waters Winter Expedition What would you do after a 2-week, northern Maine snowshoe expedition? If you answered head […] Read More

Categories: Updates

Snowshoes And Sky

What would you do after a 2-week, northern Maine snowshoe expedition? If you answered head directly to Minnesota to go on another multi-week snowshoe expedition, you think just like the guys doing our yearlong immersion program. Paul Sveum, one of our instructors, is leading a trip across Minnesota's Boundary Waters immediately following our trip in […] Read More

Categories: General

Waterhole On Winter Expedition

Just ten days until our 2-week Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. We'll be taking to the woods of Aroostook County, Maine and traveling by snowshoe and hauling our gear on toboggans along the frozen waterways. Home will be several woodstove-outfitted canvas tents. This year we'll be joined for a few days by guest instructor and my old […] Read More

Categories: General, Long-Term Programs

Rain In Quebec

Eleven years ago I bought a rain jacket from Tentsmiths. They call it a Watchcoat and it's made out of oiled cotton. I've always hated nylon rain gear because of it's noise, and this one is quiet. I wear it with a wide-brimmed rain hat, and have used it hard every year I've had it. […] Read More

Categories: Gear, General

Three Canoes Poling

Our 4-week canoe expedition this summer will be very physically challenging. I've got six months to train for it, and I need to accomplish two things. First, I need to get stronger. I need to add muscle to my upper body, with an emphasis on my shoulders; they're what gets sore after a week of […] Read More

Categories: Courses, General

Small Hoop House

As of today, the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester running from April 20 to June 21 of this year is full. We could still have some cancellations, so if you want to be on the waiting list for the spring course let us know. The fall course is about half full, meaning there are 5 open spots […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Milestones

Sunset Through Hemlock Boughs

2014 marks a few milestones for me. It's the ten year mark for me blogging. In 2004 my friend Shayne told me about blogging and even set up a blog for me on my site. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, but I used that blog for two years before […] Read More

Categories: General

Loaded Wood Canoe

I wrote a while back that I was changing the format of the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester, our four-week Maine canoe expedition. I've felt for a long time that there needed to be more of a challenge involved. This year, there will be plenty of challenge. The Route We'll be making a giant (about 270 […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General, Long-Term Programs

New Jack Mountain Forum

Five Brook Trout

Beginning in 2014 we're moving from email to a forum-based communication system for enrolled students. Email has become unreliable for us due to the volume of it that we receive, messages not being received due to filters, etc. Communication regarding future courses will take place on the forum. You'll have to register to view anything […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Draw Knife On Self Bow

This year we're partnering with GALA ( a local non-profit) to offer a monthly workshop series on self-reliance. Workshops run the second Wednesday of every month and are $15. More information is our Self Reliance Workshop page. The upcoming workshops are: 1/8 - Traditional Winter Gear, Snowshoes And Snowshoeing 2/12 - Soap Making 101 3/12 […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Courses, General, In The Media

Bluff Camp, Relaxing Fire

There are two main ways that people cook over a fire: suspend a pot from above or prop it up from below. Of course there are other ways, but these two are by far the most common. Of these, I prefer to hang a pot from above when cooking over an open fire because it […] Read More

Categories: Gear, General

Snowshoe Pot Hanger

I've been working on putting together a new site for the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School where we can keep up with what community members are up to. We encourage our students to publish their logbooks, photos, etc., but up to this point haven't had an easy way to keep up with one another. This is […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Bowmaking In The Snow

Is this the year you're going to pitch it all and go live in the forest? Leave the corporate rat race and the city life behind and head for the quiet of the bush? I hear from people regularly who want to quit their job, sell their house and go live in the woods for […] Read More

Categories: General

January 2014 News

Morning Glare After Snow Storm

Highlights: January is named for the Roman god Janus, often portrayed with two faces; one looking back in contemplation, one looking forward in anticipation. It's a month where I spend a lot of time in the office planning the details of the coming year, and also looking back at what worked and what needs to […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Hanging Pot With Snowshoes

We ran our first School Of The Forest kids program this past Saturday during a bitter cold snap and with ten inches of fresh, powdery snow on the ground. The day was a mixture of bushcraft, nature lore and games, and even though we were constantly checking to make sure everyone was warm enough and […] Read More

Categories: General

Snubbing On The Big Machias

Yesterday I was part of a conversation led by a man who runs a small academic program for homeschoolers. He was talking about the modern fascination with being able to measure learning when he mentioned that problem solving is not as important as problem finding. This got me thinking. Modern education puts a high value […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General

Chicken On Fire

Self-Reliace Deficit Disorder (SRDD) - A disease.  Symptoms include having the inability to provide for any basic needs with materials from immediate surroundings, needing significant infrastructure to accomplish everyday tasks, and a generalized can't-do attitude. I made up this term last week when writing about our upcoming kids program and people started talking about it, […] Read More

Categories: General

Woods Road Signs

I'm not much of a television guy. Part of this is having two young kids, so when the tv is on there's usually a dancing purple dinosaur or some other annoying cartoon character or puppet singing songs that make me temporarily envy the deaf. As a family we cut the cord a while ago and […] Read More

Categories: General

December 2013 News

White Campion

Highlights: After a busy season at the field school, returning home to the folk school is wonderful experience. Being surrounded by modern conveniences, electricity; I revel in it for a few days, then, like most modern people, I start to take it for granted. When something is everywhere, is it even possible to appreciate it? […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Snubbing On Smoothwater

Nature has become wallpaper in outdoor education; a backdrop for human-focused activities. But it doesn't need to be. When it's only scenery, it's not easy to get people to engage. From personal experience I know that the natural world is a different place to someone who is seeking food, raw materials for crafts, materials for […] Read More

Categories: General, Podcast

Bows In The Barn

We're adding a new, monthly kids program starting in January.  It's called The School Of The Forest, and is designed for kids ages 8 and older.  It will take place at the folk school in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on Saturday per month.  The first date will be January 4th.  You can read more about it […] Read More

Categories: Courses, General

The Hunter’s Silence

Quiet Moment At Remote Camp

Humans are social animals. Put two of us together and we'll talk and talk, even if there's nothing useful to say. I believe a small part of this is human nature. We're social animals, and verbal communication is a foundational principle of how we organize in groups. But I think the vast majority of this […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General

November 2013 News

Break On The Lake

Highlights: Finished up our 24th semester course at the end of October, then presented on the role of nature in outdoor education at the Snow Walker's Rendezvous in a short talk titled "Beyond Wallpaper." Also taught two workshops. Have had a lot of office time planning new programs for 2014, including a monthly kids program […] Read More

Categories: General, News

2014 Calendar Is Live

Big Lake Twilight

Our 2014 calendar is live on our site. We've added a few new folk school programs including the School Of The Forest, a monthly kids program, and the New Hampshire self reliance workshop series, a monthly adult program for which we've partnered with a local non-profit. We've also taken our weeklong winter bushcraft and survival […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

North Maine Woods Pond

Early November is a great time to be in northern New England. Everyone I've ever asked agrees that it's beautiful, but to me it also means that our fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester course is complete, the bugs are gone until spring, and I get to spend some time at home. But that doesn't mean I'll […] Read More

Categories: General

Touch Me Not

There is a difference between knowing something for yourself versus having read it or heard it. That difference is characterized by experience and results, not faith and information. During the early weeks of the fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester we do a lot of work with plants. As we traverse the landscape of Aroostook County, we […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General

Two Canoes

Over the weekend we began our 24th semester course. We've got a big group, a new cooking pavilion, an expanded fleet of canoes (new 20' Old Town XL Tripper) and a fresh coat of spar varnish on the paddles. There's been talk of purchasing a giant neon sign in order for Moose Vegas (our student […] Read More

Categories: General, Long-Term Programs

Working Bucksaw

There are a few things we're always looking for, so we're putting together a wish list page asking people for donations. For most people these are junk, and we'd like to save them from the landfill and do something useful with them. If you've got them lying around and are planning a trip near Masardis, […] Read More

Categories: General

August 2013 News

Moonrise

Highlights: No newsletter last month due to a busy schedule including 3 straight weeks of visiting inlaws. Had a great family course, as well as some solid family time in July. We had our first student at the field school from Peru - always amazed at the reach of the internet. We've also added two […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Axe Sheath Quality

If you carry an axe, a sturdy sheath is a must. It protects both you and the axe. Many of the sheaths that come with new axes are flimsy and won't hold up, so either make one or get one. Don Merchant at Pole And Paddle Canoe makes them out of thick leather. Don't let […] Read More

Categories: Gear, General

Poling Up The Stream

I'll be announcing some changes to our programs over the next few days, the first of which is the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. I've been talking with alumni and thinking about how it is different from the the canoe instruction and experience during the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. The main question I've been asking is if […] Read More

Categories: General, Long-Term Programs

Cooking At Camp

We've received several calls regarding questions about food and meals on field school courses recently. Our goal is to have no surprises for people when they arrive, but there is a lot of information to digest and while we're working to simplify it, it isn't always the easiest to find. I'm posting this information to […] Read More

Categories: Courses, General

On A Frozen Lake

Learning something new demands more action than details. More often than not, excessive details and information get in the way more than they help during the initial steps. In my opinion, only the minimum amount of information that leads to a successful outcome should be provided the first time someone learns something new or completes […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General

Lakeside Juneberries

Today we're running the third of three wild food walks, and will be heading to a nearby wetland at the top of its drainage to harvest cattails and other wetland species. The walks have been a lot of fun, and we're right in the thick of the foraging season. I've spent several afternoons with my […] Read More

Categories: Courses, General

Moose Yearling In Field

During the June, 2013 Woodsman course we were at the river picking fiddleheads for supper when a yearling and mother moose walked into the field. We were quiet and still, and the wind was blowing toward us, so they kept coming right at us […] Read More

Categories: General, Videos

Fireweed Flowers

I've set the time and location for the first of our 3-part edible wild plant workshop series.  Session 1 (June 30) will run from 12-3 and will meet at 267 Camp School Road in Wolfeboro, NH. Plan to arrive between 11:30 and 12:00. We will be exploring the nearby woods and fields.  If your main […] Read More

Categories: Courses, General

Big Lake Paddling

On the last day of our Aroostook River trip during our recent Wilderness Canoe Expedition Course, we stopped to have lunch at the boat ramp near the North Maine Woods gate at Oxbow.  From here, the river makes a sharp right turn, and there's a short class 2 rapid we call Oxbow Gate Rips.  Often […] Read More

Categories: General, Trip Journals

June 2013 News

Allagash Brook Trout

Highlights: No newsletter last month because we were off the grid in the North Maine Woods.  We had a great 4-week canoe course in May, and I'm out of the woods with surprisingly few bug bites.  The month started with a stretch of hot and dry weather.  It was 85 degrees and there was a […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Loaded Wood Canoe

Last weekend was arguably the best weather you could request for the last weekend in April. Sunny, a slight breeze and warm, it was perfect for hitting the water and getting the winter cobwebs out of canoe muscles. We ran two, 1-day canoe programs at the folk school in NH and they both were fantastic. […] Read More

Categories: General

April 2013 News

Pyramid At Dusk

Highlights:  April was a busy month at the folk school in NH.  We ran a handful of private workshops and along the way found time to get out fishing for smelt and suckers.  It was a cold spring and we're looking forward to the warmer weather.  Currently I'm getting gear ready for the canoe expedition; […] Read More

Categories: General, News

Aroostook Headwaters

The general route for our spring canoe expedition is set.  We'll spend the bulk of the month on the Aroostook drainage.  We'll be doing a good deal of upriver work, both poling and lining, to visit a few of my favorite spots.   Our second trip in on the Allagash, where we'll be poling up […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General, Long-Term Programs

Casting a fly at dusk.

People put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed, or to be really good at something right at the beginning. I, and anyone who has taught anything for any length of time, can tell you that learning doesn't work that way.  You don't start out being good at something.  It takes, blood, sweat and […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General

The Number 7

Canoe Tarp Shelter

The number seven has been coming up a lot the last few days. First, I've had this blog for seven years. I started it in 2006. I had one before this, but it was hacked and most of the 140 posts were deleted. Second, I recently crossed the 700 posts threshold. This is post number […] Read More

Categories: General

Woman Versus Wild

Maine Sky At Sunset

What happens when a woman spends a weekend in the woods learning learning wilderness survival and bushcraft during a snowy Maine winter? Deirdre Fulton spent a weekend with us, and you can read her account of it in this article from the Portland Phoenix.  Read it here. I wasn't learning how to outlast the zombie […] Read More

Categories: General, In The Media

Warming Fire In Winter

On Wednesday, February 27th we're running a short course on winter bushcraft for kids (ages 6-12) and parents in Wolfeboro, NH.  The tuition is $25 per family, which can include 2 adults and multiple kids. I'm planning on running the program from 1:30-4:00 pm. We'll be focusing on lighting fires, snowshoe use and making bindings, […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Courses, General

Basketry In The Dome

Over the past few months I've seen numerous blogs offering tips and tricks on bushcraft and survival. But tips and tricks will never take the place of practiced fundamentals; learning the correct technique, then doing it until it is second nature. The seemingly inexhaustible human desire for shortcuts keeps the search alive, but don't be […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General

Sourdough Expedition Cake

Thumb Of Approval

During the bitter cold of our winter snowshoe expedition this year, several members of our group were eating over 5000 calories a day in order to keep their internal furnaces stoked. It got me thinking about making an expedition cake that was calorie-dense and nutrient-rich that I could make in advance of winter trips to […] Read More

Categories: Food, General

Thinking Of Spring Canoeing

The deep snows of mid-February are covering the landscape (and the canoe trailer), and for the past few days the wind has been howling down the lake with enough force to sculpt the snow and make it feel very cold. With no more winter trips planned for this year, my thoughts are turning to spring […] Read More

Categories: General

Campfire Cooking

As of February 14th, our 2013-2014 yearlong bushcraft immersion program and the fall wilderness bushcraft semester are both full.  Although it grows a bit every year, this is the earliest we've ever filled; more than 6-months in advance!  We will still accept applications for the waiting list in case their are cancellations.  If you're thinking […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General, Long-Term Programs

What Plagiarism Looks Like

Poison Ivy

Well, it happened again. I received an email from a friend about someone who has copied some of my stuff. Over the years, people have copied my text, photos (which is why every photo I post now has a watermark), and even my anecdotes. More than twenty-five times. I've always taken the high road, emailing […] Read More

Categories: General, Rants

Cooking Over Fire - Winter

Trip Journal 1/31/13 - Squapan Lake, Maine This morning it was warm and raining, with a strong wind out of the south. At about one pm, the wind began to shift, moving to the southwest and eventually to the west. As this was happening, it began to get cold again. A cold front was blowing […] Read More

Categories: General, Long-Term Programs, Trip Journals

Chiseling A Water Hole

Trip Journal 1/30/13 Tentbound. Squapan Lake, Aroostook County, Maine. After the cold of our first 8 days in the woods, we enjoyed a beautiful walk hauling laden toboggans down the western arm of Squapan Lake. The sleds chattered behind us with minimal effort, a huge difference from hauling them up the hill from the field […] Read More

Categories: Long-Term Programs, Trip Journals

Winter Camp, Northern Maine

January 23, 2013; Day five of our Winter Bushcraft And Snowshoe Expedition Intensive. The weather has been cold; we haven't seen positive temperatures in four days. The last two nights, the temperatures have been colder than 35 degrees below zero, and colder than -55 with the wind chill. We've got two 8-sided, 12' diameter Ungava […] Read More

Categories: General, Long-Term Programs, Trip Journals

Snowshoe Trip

I'm off in a few short hours on our winter bushcraft and snowshoe expedition.  I'll be gone for two weeks, during the first of which the weather is supposed to get cold!  Next week the forecast is for high temperatures in the negative numbers and lows nearing -30.  We'll be in cotton tents outfitted with […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Sewing A Braintan Mukluk

We run long, intense field courses in bushcraft and guide training. Over the past few years, we've gone to running them almost exclusively. There are many lessons that can only be learned in the field, hence the need for a field school. But there are others where the spirit of learning belongs in a community, […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Educational Philosophy, General

Frozen NH Lake After A Thaw

We're back in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. After three winters in Texas, my family and I have returned to the Lakes Region of NH. We'll continue to run our full slate of field school programs in northern Maine. But I'm planning some new programs for New Hampshire and am excited about all the opportunities they'll bring.  […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, General

Dersu The Trapper

Aroostook River At Dusk

I like first person accounts of life in the bush. There are many from throughout North America that I've read, but I also enjoy those from farther afield. Recently I had a day of travel (car, bus, plane), and spent the whole day reading Dersu The Trapper. It's a true account written by a Russian […] Read More

Categories: Book and Video Reviews

Crooked Knife And JB

I'm headed to the Snow Walker's Rendezvous in Vermont November 9-11. If you've never been and you're interested in non-mechanized winter travel and living out in the winter, you should check it out. I'll be teaching workshops on axemanship, ropemaking, and making low-tech crooked knives, like the one Little Justin is holding in the above […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Courses, General

Wood, Canvas and Leather

This past weekend we wrapped up our 21st long-term immersion program. When we started in August I had big plans about blogging every day, but the realities of field school life intervened and I only posted twice during the course. There were lots of great moments, from the weasel who lived under my tent and […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, Long-Term Programs

Birch Knife Sheath

There's a grace that comes with experience when form follows function. Simplicity is the goal. The more experienced one becomes, the less work is needed to complete a specific task. This is accomplished by eliminating the unnecessary. When using an axe to procure raw materials for basic needs from the forest, the more skilled and […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, Long-Term Programs

Being And Doing

Howe Brook In Autumn

I woke up before dawn and watched the sun rise over Squapan ridge this morning. We've had a bunch of hot and humid weather, but a cold front came through yesterday afternoon and the overnight temperature was in the low 40's. This morning the sky is clear and there a hint of autumn in the […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, Long-Term Programs

Reflective Paddling

Yesterday we started our 21st bushcraft semester course, our 11th since relocating our immersion programs to the field school in Masardis, Maine. It's significant because now we've run more of them here than at our old base in New Hampshire. It's also the first semester course where we've been able to accept the GI Bill […] Read More

Categories: Long-Term Programs

Hiking With Basket

After meeting a bunch of the folks who frequent the Bushcraft USA forum at Woodsmoke, I decided to become a supporter and vendor there. As a result, now we've got our own sub-forum. It's a good place to discuss anything bushcraft. You can get there by clicking here […] Read More

Categories: General

Summer’s Over

Fishing Below Allagash Falls

Our summer ended today and although it was a great one, I'm wondering where it went? With attending the first Woodsmoke rendezvous, running the first Family Bushcraft course (and having 20 people attend!), running our usual summer courses, and doing a bit of television work, it was full to the gills. The past week I've […] Read More

Categories: General

At Allagash Falls

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 40, the 15th and final in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. In this episode, join us as we swim the rapids, pack up camp, and visit with the Old Man of Allagash Falls, a stone face […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Dr. Nick

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 39, the 14th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. In this episode, injury! One of the members of the crew gets a puncture wound in their shin. This episode finishes with a visit from Dr. Nick […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Omnipod 2500

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 38, the 13th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us as Nick explains the benefits of the Onmipod-2500, the ultimate outdoor cooking rig […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Reflector Oven Pizza

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 37, the 12th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. In this episode some of the crew make a reflector oven sourdough pizza […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Churchill Vista

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 36, the 11th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us as we put in on the Allagash headwater lakes for the second leg of our journey, visit with Tim in the middle of the lake […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Quickwater Poling

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 35, the 10th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us at the headwater pool of the Aroostook River where Whiskey Jack traverses camp and has a discussion with Tim about fishing the pool […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Quickwater Stream

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 34, the 9th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us in the canoe as we travel down a quickwater section of the river, then visit with Big Fish as he talks about his hammock camping […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Brookie In The Pan

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 33, the 8th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us in camp catching native brook trout, then cooking those trout along with a bunch of other stuff over the campfire […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Munsungan Falls Carry Trail

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 32, the 7th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. In this episode we carry boats and gear around Munsungan Falls, then take a look at the falls and talk about how it was a favorite fishing […] Read More

Categories: Videos

A Good Laugh In Camp

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 31, the 6th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us in camp at Munsungan Lake for an introduction the group, campfire cooking and a discussion about the history of the region […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Whiskey Jack, Pensive

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 30, the 5th in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Join us as we pole downriver, cross Munsungan Lake, and set up camp […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Ash Paddles On The 20'

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 29, the 4rd in a 15 part video series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Check out our poling practice session, watch Bart fall in twice, and hear Shawn expound on the importance of treating a friction fire coal gingerly as you […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Paddling, Pole In Foreground

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 28, the 3rd in a 15 part series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course in the North Maine Woods. Learn about the knifing J paddling stroke as we paddle down Chase Pond in order to get to the outlet stream to practice poling […] Read More

Categories: General, Videos

Canoes In Perspective

Jack Mountain Bushcraft Journal episode 27, the 2nd in a 15 part series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course. Get a canoe poling lesson and learn about reflector oven sourdough biscuits […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Adjusting The Pots On The Fire

We've had two last-minute cancellations for the fall semester course, so there are two available spots. It's just two weeks until the semester starts. If you're interested give us a call […] Read More

Categories: Announcements

Chase Pond Horizon

The 1st in a 15 part series shot on our May, 2012 bushcraft canoe expedition course. Join us as we travel to the put in for our Aroostook river trip on Chase Pond, deep in the North Maine Woods and learn about safely launching canoes […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Canoes On The Trailer

There's a legendary story about the band Van Halen and their tour rider with concert venues from the 1970's and 80's that has to do with brown M&M's (the candy). Buried deep within the contract was a clause that they demanded to have M&M's backstage, but that someone had to go through and pick out […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy

Woodsmoke Entrance

I heard from Dave Wescott last night, and the dates for Woodsmoke 2013 have been set.  It will run July 14-20.  2012 was the first year of this event, and with very little advertising it was at or just below capacity.  This combined with the fact that everyone I talked with had an amazing time […] Read More

Categories: Announcements

Allagash Falls From Downstream

After the ridiculously fun family bushcraft week, I managed to get away from the field school for a few days and have been holed-up learning the basics of the editing software and editing the video we shot in May during the bushcraft canoe expedition course.  After a lot of hours staring at a screen, it's […] Read More

Categories: General

Rigged To Carry

We're halfway through our Family Bushcraft Course, and so far it's been a great week.  We've got a big group (20), which means that so far this week we've served over 100 meals out of the dutch oven.  I'm glad we've got a few large ones, and this experience may result in me pulling the […] Read More

Categories: Courses

Squinting At The Heat

There are times when macho doesn't cut it. When you have to step back and acknowledge that things have taken a turn and the game has changed. That what got you here won't get you there. That another year has gone by, and maybe you're not up for the challenge anymore. That some hills are […] Read More

Categories: General

Carrying With A Tumpline

Following up on yesterday's post, I'm currently reading a book called Discussion Based Online Teaching To Enhance Student Learning by Tisha Bender.  This year we're adding a distance learning component to our immersion programs, and I'm educating myself as to how to do it effectively.  More on this later.  Bender relays a story on page 38 […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy

Rafting Up, Aroostook River

I first met Mors Kochanski in 1995 at his place in Alberta. Over the years we've stayed in touch and I've learned much from his sage advice. Recently at Woodsmoke we were chatting when someone complained about being kept up late the night before. Mors responded with several great lines I'll never forget. I'm paraphrasing, […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, General, Quotations

Last Travel Day

Rockpile Stove

Today is my final travel day in returning from Idaho.  I had to wait an extra day in New Hampshire for the new transmission for the truck; the old one suffered a mortal wound on the drive south.  It was a great trip, but I've had enough of cities, airports, and crowds for a while.  […] Read More

Categories: General

Carrying Gear At Munsungan Lake

Recorded while we were driving south from Fort Kent in northern Maine, Tim, Whiskey Jack and Nick reflect on the first of two wilderness canoe trips that made up the spring bushcraft canoe expedition semester.   iTunes Link | Play, Download Or Subscribe In iTunes […] Read More

Categories: Podcast

The Next Generation

After a discussion about books at Woodsmoke, several people asked me about my bibliography. While it has been available as part of our student handbook, this morning I extracted it into a standalone document as I said I would do. You can download a pdf at: jackmtn.co/PDF/JMBS_Bibliography.pdf […] Read More

Categories: General

Moose Vegas Pyramid

One of the morning sessions at Woodsmoke was focused on defining bushcraft.  There was a lively discussion as to whether it should be done at all, and if so, how to do it in a manner that would not exclusionary.  After about an hour of discussion, Stuart Goring wrote up a diagram from a discussion […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Woodsmoke Wrap-Up

Tetons From Woodsmoke Gathering

I had a fantastic week at the Woodsmoke Bushcraft Symposium. It was great to be joined by a number of Jack Mountain alumni, as well as to meet several old friends and make a bunch of new ones. The location was in the shadow of the Grand Tetons and had a cold freestone stream running […] Read More

Categories: General

Harvesting Wild Greens

This week only, I'm offering a 100% discount on the downloadable versions of our books (not paper, sorry).  You can get them from our Lulu store.  The titles include: Jack Mountain Bushcraft Student Handbook First Person Ecology Bushcraft Education; Riffs And Reflections On Teaching And Learning Outdoors Simple Little Sourdough And Outdoor Baking Book On […] Read More

Categories: General

Poling St. Croix Stream

This year was something new for the Riverman course. We started the week with a morning poling and paddling on Squapan lake, then spent an hour poling at the confluence of St. Croix stream and the Aroostook river before floating back to the field school and spending two hours working on technical poling skills at […] Read More

Categories: General

Sunset Behind The Guide Shack

The sunsets are late this time of year, and the sunrises are early. I love the colors on this picture as the sun sets in the northwest sky. The clover is thick in the field and the bees are loving it.  Nature is buzzing at the field school. We just passed the registration deadline for […] Read More

Categories: Announcements

Bushcraft Gear

Shaping A 2-Hour Bow

Over the past month of weeklong courses we got into many discussions about gear.  Longtime readers know that I have mixed feelings about it.  I like gear.  I especially like simple, traditional gear.  But I never want it to be about the gear.  I never want to see gear, or lack of a specific piece […] Read More

Categories: Gear

Hit By Lightning

Rainbow Over The Aroostook River

Ten days ago we got hit by lightning. It zapped the inverter to our off-grid solar power system. It's only today that I've got a new inverter installed and have some stored sunlight to post with. It was near the end of the Bushman course and there were strong afternoon thunderstorms. We had retreated to […] Read More

Categories: General

Field School Stream

Nature is buzzing around the field school. The yearly show put on by fireflies is in full swing. After dark there are thousands of them over the field, blinking on and off and looking like a galaxy of stars you can reach out and touch. Were my photography skills developed beyond point and click, I'd […] Read More

Categories: General

Hit A Moose

Hit A Moose

One of the guys in camp this week hit a moose with his car. He was coming up route 11 toward Masardis after dark and saw some moose on the side of the road. Luckily, he slowed way down to about 5 miles per hour before a moose stepped in front of his car. The […] Read More

Categories: General

First Light At Round Pond, Allagash

This is my favorite photo from our May canoe trip on the Allagash.  I got up at 3:57 am in order to wake someone on the trip at 4, and the light was just coming over the ridge to the northeast of the pond.  It was cold, but I grabbed my camera and took a […] Read More

Categories: General, Trip Journals

Antler Rub

This morning we start our Bushman course.  The focus is on the primitive skills needed to live in the north woods during the warm weather months.  Primitive is occasionally used as a synonym for inferior, but a quick check of the dictionary will rectify that.  It is from the latin Primus, meaning the first of […] Read More

Categories: General

Poling On Chase Pond

After a busy week we finished the Woodsman course yesterday. The weather was fantastic the whole week; one rainy morning, but otherwise sun and warm days with cool nights in the 40's. We had a bunch of animals come through camp, from deer and moose to the snowshoe hare's who are hopping around the field […] Read More

Categories: General

Another 15″ Brookie

Brookie And New Reflector Oven

Another 15" brook trout caught in camp tonight.  Roasting on a stick over the fire in front of the new reflector oven.  A great week so far […] Read More

Categories: General

New Reflector Oven

I've had a bunch of reflector ovens over the years and they've all shared one thing in common; bake pans that aren't a standard size.  After threatening to do so for several years, when we took off the river June 2nd I took a small, non-folding reflector oven and a standard half-sheet pan (13" x […] Read More

Categories: Gear

Poling Munsungan Stream

We had a busy day yesterday working on fires, axe uses, wild edibles and campfire cooking.  A guy on the course caught his first trout on a fly rod - a 12" brookie, in the river right in front of camp.  And on a dry fly, no less.  One of the teaching assistants was riding […] Read More

Categories: General

Around The Fire

Today begins our series of week long summer programs with the Woodsman course.  It's our general introductory course on all things bushcraft.  Last night we welcomed everyone to camp with a huge batch of sourdough biscuits cooked in our new, giant, reflector oven.  More on it later.  Today we'll be working on using axes and […] Read More

Categories: General

Landlocked Salmon

We had the pleasure of Nick Gallop's company on our river trip last month.  Nick has a school and blog in England called Skills For Wild Lives.  He's also a skilled artist, craftsman, woodsman, riverman, photographer and potential infomercial pitchman (more on this later).  He's writing up his trip journal on his blog complete with […] Read More

Categories: General, Trip Journals

Axe Gauges

John King, Snow And Neally Axes

An axe gauge is a small tool with a triangular cut out used to measure the profile of an axe blade. Axes have different profiles for different jobs. For example, a splitting axe can be nearly triangular in shape, while a limbing axe has a much more narrow profile. Gauges were used to set and […] Read More

Categories: General

Munsungan Twilight

I have a hard time figuring out how to connect with people on social media sites. My quandary is whether to post things as me, Tim, or as my business, the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. I want to be consistent. I want to not confuse people regarding who's who and avoid creating a web-based split […] Read More

Categories: General

Traditional Canoe Shelter

We made it back from the Allagash trip, finishing the spring Bushcraft Canoe Expedition Semester.  Overall the trip was fantastic, but it didn't look that way at the beginning.  The first two days the black flies were terrible, but then it cooled off and they weren't bad for this time of year.  The fishing was […] Read More

Categories: Long-Term Programs, Trip Journals

Paddling Across A Northern Lake

Phase 1 of the Bushcraft Canoe Expedition Semester is completed. It was a fantastic 9-day trip on the headwaters of the Aroostook, where we put in on Chase Pond and descended Munsungan Brook, crossed Munsungan Lake, carried around Munsungan Falls, descended Munsungan Stream, and paddled the Aroostook River back to the field school. We had […] Read More

Categories: Long-Term Programs, Trip Journals

Pack Basket And Mountain Stream

It's been a busy few days since arriving at the field school. Lots of cleaning, gear preparation, varnishing wannigans, canoe chairs, etc., but it's finished and this morning we leave to paddle and pole the headwaters of the Aroostook river. We'll be camping, fishing and canoeing back to the field school over the next week. […] Read More

Categories: Courses, Long-Term Programs

Homemade Rocket Stove

If you have old outdoor books and magazines, I want you to join me in donating one (or more) of them to the troops.  Email me and I'll pass along where to send them. Yesterday I received an email from a soldier serving in an infantry unit getting ready for a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan.  […] Read More

Categories: General

Baxter State Park

A reporter asked me a while ago why I thought survival TV shows have attracted such big audiences. I answered that if you filmed some gorillas in the wild, then showed that video to gorillas in a cage at the zoo, they'd be fascinated to see members of their species in their natural environment. If […] Read More

Categories: General

Turkey Tail

If you read the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog feed on the web, or if you get it delivered via email, I'd like to invite you to check it out on our site again. I've recently made some big changes to the layout, making it a hub for JMBS videos, podcasts and photos. My goal is […] Read More

Categories: General

Big Black Fire

In a few days, I’ll be there.  A river in northern Maine.  A remote campsite, only accessible by water.  But in those few remaining days, there’s lots of work to be done.  Today, it was varnishing a new dutch oven wannigan and canoe chair.  Tomorrow it will be putting several coats of shellac on my […] Read More

Categories: Long-Term Programs

Dutch Ovens, Kettle, Axe, Knife

The updated requirements for the Journeyman certification program are live on the web. You can read them here.  I'm excited about the direction our certification programs are headed, and will be writing more about them in the coming weeks […] Read More

Categories: General

New Photo Digest

Hiking Through The Birches

I'm adding a new photo digest here starting today.  I post lots of photos to our Flickr, Google+ and Facebook pages, but  those of you who only read the blog will now be able to check them out. You can see a full-size version of the image by clicking the title.  Let me know what […] Read More

Categories: General

Spring Cleaning Fast

After a few months as a stay at home dad I'm doing some spring cleaning this week.  Currently I'm on day 3 of a 7-day water fast.  This means only consuming water, not avoiding water.  So far this fast has been pleasant. A seven-day water fast is a requirement for our Expedition Instructor (XI) certification.  […] Read More

Categories: General

Homemade Rocket Stove

Sustainable cooking as demonstrated by Whiskey Jack.  Rice cooked in a sun oven, then fried over a twig-fueled rocket stove.   […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Ross Morgan wrote a great comment on a recent post about Spiller axes, including some history of revered Maine axes and how the Gransfors Bruks American felling axe design started in the woods of New England.  I've heard stories about how the Gransfors was patterned after a Maine axe, and wrote as much in the […] Read More

Categories: General

"Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked."  - Lord Chesterfield No one likes a know-it-all. Most people don't even like a know-it-some. Is there […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, Quotations

Always Busy

There's an attitude I've seen a few times that warrants mention because it will stop a person from becoming at home in the natural world. That attitude is busyness. For some a foray into the forest is a non-stop to do list without a break between projects. For some the constant stream of activity is […] Read More

Categories: General

Now that our winter programs are completed, I'm turning my attention to the spring canoe expedition semester. The course lasts 28 days. The first 2 are spent in camp planning, provisioning, packing and preparing gear. Then it's off to run the length of our home river, the Aroostook. We've got an optional leg of the […] Read More

Categories: Courses, Long-Term Programs

After studying the manual and talking with the Veterans Administration, I'm up to speed with the registration procedures for the GI Bill. It's a simple, 3-step process. Step 1: Fill out the registration form on our site. Step 2: Email us a copy of your certificate of eligibility (sometimes called letter of eligibility). Step 3: […] Read More

Categories: Courses

New Summer Program Lineup

I recently announced that we were changing our summer course lineup.  The new, revised summer lineup is now posted on our Calendar.  It includes: Woodsman Course - 6/10 - 6/16 Bushman Course - 6/17 - 6/23 Riverman Course - 6/24 - 6/30 Teen Bushcraft & Survival Course - 7/8 - 7/14 Family Bushcraft & Survival […] Read More

Categories: Courses

Spiller Axe, Oakland Maine

On my way south from the county I stopped in to see my old friend Don Merchant at Pole And Paddle Canoe. He had a sweet Spiller axe for sale for $90. Spiller was an axe making company in Oakland, Maine, back in the day. I've been told that Gransfors patterned their American felling axe […] Read More

Categories: Gear

Maine Bushcraft Practicum

3 week minimum. For Immersion program students, by immersion program students. There comes a point in a person's bushcraft education where they need to be kicked out of the nest to do things on their own and gain a level of experience that is difficult to obtain during a formal course. Once a certain level […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Long-Term Programs

After a lot of thought and discussions with students, we're scrapping our current Journeyman Certification Program. Instead of being based on a 4-week summer field course, the Journeyman Certification will now be based on the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester in the fall. Like the XI (Expedition Instructor Certification), it will be comprised of benchmarks, minimum competencies […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Courses, Long-Term Programs

I just received some more information on Woodsmoke, a classic camping and bushcraft rendezvous taking place this summer and organized by Dave Wescott.  The dates are set and they're currently accepting applications to fill the 100 slots. Date: July 8-14, 2012 Location: Tetonia, Idaho Cost: $275.00 For detailed info, check out this .pdf I received […] Read More

Categories: Announcements

After three weeks sleeping in sub-zero temperatures, we're getting a warming trend. I had plenty of insulation (2 sleeping bags), so I haven't been cold at night. I have, however, had to deal with frost. Living and sleeping in subzero temperatures is an exercise in moisture management. The moisture expelled by your skin ends up […] Read More

Categories: General

Check out the amazing program my friend Jeff Giallombardo is running at Nokomis High School in Newport, Maine (see below). It's exciting to see bushcraft making inroads into the classroom. “Ultimate Outdoors” is a program recently developedat Nokomis Regional High School in an effort to better serve our “at risk”young adult students and our general […] Read More

Categories: General

We're down to one available spot for January's Winter Bushcraft Immersion course.  The course runs from January 8-21 at our field school in Masardis, Maine, and students have the opportunity to earn 5 undergraduate credits. It's definitely not a beginner's course, as camp is roughly a mile snowshoe in from the road.  We'll be camped […] Read More

Categories: Courses

Video on building a semi-permanent, group-sized dome shelter in the woods of northern Maine to be used as a lodge, wet-weather instruction area, heated space during cold weather, and as a dance club in the evenings.   […] Read More

Categories: General, Videos

A canoeing video of poling up and snubbing down the Big Machias River during the June, 2011 Riverman Course. The camera gets a little shakey in the middle, but even with this is shows that with a pole and some experience a person can travel upstream through a rip faster than they can walk on […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Shot during the Journeyman course last summer, this video features a Dutch oven chicken dinner expertly described by Whiskey Jack. Here he utters his famous line, "That doesn't look any good!", for the first time on film.   […] Read More

Categories: Videos

We're adding two new certification programs to our list of courses to go along with the Journeyman course: the Expedition Instructor (XI) and Expedition Instructor Trainer (XIT). They exist as add-ons to our current yearlong immersion program. There are no extra courses that need to be taken, nor is there any extra tuition involved. There […] Read More

Categories: Announcements, Educational Philosophy, General

A short video shot at a remote campsite in the north Maine Woods, 43 river miles upstream from town. We were here in July, 2011 on our Journeyman Course, and enjoyed the gentle rhythms of the campfire and the flowing river.   […] Read More

Categories: Videos

Our 18th bushcraft immersion semester program is finished and I'm enjoying some down time with family.  In addition to a busy schedule of courses, we added a hand pump well to the field school this year, as well as finished the exterior of the guide shack and built a student campsite at Moose Vegas. In […] Read More

Categories: General

For the past two years I've been under a television contract with the Animal Planet television network. I've shot two pilots, and just heard that the more recent of these will not be airing. It was a fun experience and an amazing learning opportunity, but one that involved a lot of waiting and relying on […] Read More

Categories: General

It's official; the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School has been approved by the Veterans Administration to accept GI Bill benefits for our bushcraft and guide training immersion programs.  Our approval is as a vocational school.  More details coming soon […] Read More

Categories: General

Around The Fire

Podcast on practical wilderness survival based on what you need to know, what you need to do, and what you need to carry in order to make it through a survival episode. Tim Smith outlines how we approach the topic of survival at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School in this talk that has been given […] Read More

Categories: Featured Posts, Podcast

Today was the first day of the Journeyman Program.  It's new this year - a four week immersion course.  We had a great day building shelters,  lighting fires, cooking over the fire, etc.  The mosquitos in the Guide Shack are fierce tonight - someone left the door open today.  They're too numerous to spend much […] Read More

Categories: Long-Term Programs

Busy, Busy Summer

My posts lately have been only to Twitter and Facebook because I've been so busy, and the days I'm not I've had family duty.  This is set to change, as we start our long term programs in a week (for 13 weeks) and we've got a dedicated study hall period in the evening where I'll […] Read More

Categories: General

Viva, Moose Vegas

Making crooked knives beneath the Pyramid Of Doom I've been at the field school for several weeks, currently in the third straight week of courses. We ran the Woodsman course, then the Bushman, and now are smack in the middle of the Riverman. It's been busy, with days starting at around 6 and lasting until […] Read More

Categories: General

Time Off, Back Now

I took a bit of time away from updating the blog to get ready for my recent speaking gig in Dallas and to work on my advanced diaper changing technique, but am back again.  My diaper changing duties are about to be put on hold as I'm packing for the trip from Texas to Maine […] Read More

Categories: General

I'm a member of a hate group. Not any longer, but I was for a few hours. Someone added me to one on Facebook. I wasn't aware that someone else could add you to a group without your consent, but one day I received 14 email updates from this group which alerted me that I […] Read More

Categories: General, Rants

The registration deadline for our summer and fall courses recently passed. We've done a poor job of communicating what this actually means. You can still register for all of our courses as long as the Registration Status on our calendar is Open. We started this system of registration deadlines years ago so that we knew […] Read More

Categories: General

There is a specific type of person who always has to have the last word. If you've done something, they claim to have done it bigger and better. And if they haven't, they have a friend who has. When I was in college my friends and I knew a guy for whom this was his […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy

Mother_Jones_cover

Is the whole survival thing a sham? Steve Rinella, host of the Travel Channel's show The Wild Within says so about the made for TV survival episodes in an article in the May/June, 2011 issue of Mother Jones. Written by Brian Kevin and titled "Savage Love: How the larger-than-life bushmen of cable TV are creating […] Read More

Categories: General, In The Media

Time Is Short

Over the past few months a bunch of unfavorable occurences have taken place amongst my circle of friends. One friend lost a child, a friend's father lost a leg, and another friend was diagnosed with spine cancer at age 39. I'm not writing this post looking for sympathy for a few bad months. I don't […] Read More

Categories: General

From very early on, it was clear that bipedal locomotion was not going to be fast enough to keep pace with the hustle and bustle lifestyle of our hunter/gatherer ancestors. The desire to effortlessly transport heaping hunks of mastodon, to swiftly reach the local flint quarry, or to fulfill the need for a tranquil cardio […] Read More

Categories: Courses

It's tax day today.  I've spent a considerable amount of time over the past few weeks working on ours. I always find it a little odd to have a year's worth of work represented by numbers on a piece of paper or in a computer program. Obviously they tell a very small part of the […] Read More

Categories: General, Quotations

If you're coming to the field school this year and want to upgrade your accomodations to include your own private bathroom, consider bringing your own toilet seat and 5 gallon bucket (or 2 buckets).  These Luggable Loo toilet seats clip onto a bucket.  You can also improvise your own seat or build a toilet box […] Read More

Categories: Gear, Sustainability

I'm not a fan of online handles or usernames if there's no way to find out who the real person behind them is. The anonymity of the internet allows people to be rude and take cheap shots without any accountability. It also provides people with little experience the opportunity to masquerade as full-time professionals, doling […] Read More

Categories: General

Bark Lean-To As our remaining wilderness areas are logged, mined, and crisscrossed by roads, I think it's time to reconsider the phrase wilderness survival. The reference to unspoiled wilderness is becoming harder and harder to justify as these places disappear in the face of a growing, resource-hungry human population. A more appropriate descriptive term is […] Read More

Categories: General

Part of the Journeyman Program will be a remote canoe trip.  We'll be poling and lining upstream to a remote lake, where the loons will sing us to sleep at night.  Then we'll take a week heading down-river getting back to the field school.  Along the way we'll be fishing, camping, and living outdoors. Classroom […] Read More

Categories: Courses

At the request of one of our students I'm updating our college curriculum and creating a course catalog for our immersion programs.  This first section is our field ecology and natural history curriculum. Economic Field Botany (3 credits) - Edible, medicinal and other useful plants of Maine and surrounding territories. Aided by an instructor, students […] Read More

Categories: Courses

Shaping  a crooked knife One component of our new Journeyman Bushcraft Instructor And Wilderness Guide Certification Program is the craft benchmarks I've written about before.  Below is the list of crafts and how many of them need to be completed in order to successfully complete the program.  All of the crafts below are taught during […] Read More

Categories: Courses, Educational Philosophy

These two quotations from "The Art Of Outdoor Living" jumped out at me because what they say about experiential education and a realistic assessment of skill through a practical exam apply directly to our new Journeyman Bushcraft Instructor & Wilderness Guide Certification Program. Scroll to the bottom for full bibliographic information. "The training and preparation […] Read More

Categories: Educational Philosophy, Quotations

A project I've been involved in for well over a decade is something I call guerilla gardening. It consists of helping to spread the growth of edible wild (and not so wild) plants on undeveloped and vacant land. These aren't gardens I spend hours daily or weekly weeding. Instead it's more along the lines of […] Read More

Categories: Food, Sustainability

Keytars, Unicorns

Longtime readers of this blog and those who have attended our courses in person know about my fascination with, and extensive collection of miniature ceramic unicorn figurines. As anyone who also collects them can attest, it is more of an obsession than a collection. Sometimes I like to imagine I live on a magical island […] Read More

Categories: General

Dusk at forty below in northern Quebec The old loggers who spent their lives in the woods wore suspenders to keep their pants up in cold weather. They were practical people, and as such there was a reason they did so. Tight clothing was always avoided, as it is uncomfortable and doesn't insulate nearly as […] Read More

Categories: Gear

Photo: Sewing a mukluk out of braintanned buckskin. Most of the winter footwear on the market is heavy and doesn't keep your feet warm. Pac boots, for example, seem to always leak in wet conditions and trap moisture and become cold in frigid conditions. Most of the big companies market their footwear by insisting that […] Read More

Categories: Gear

We've got a new Facebook page. In the past I was maintaining a personal profile as well as a Jack Mountain Bushcraft page. Our new page combines these, and as such there's no need for the other two, so the're gone. Visit us there at: http://www.facebook.com/timsmith.jmbushcraft […] Read More

Categories: General