Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast

Tim Smith

Jack Mountain Bushcraft School media hub: Blog, Podcast, Videos. About wilderness guiding, teaching, expeditions, & the woods life. Registered Master Maine Guide, Est. 1999.

All Episodes

Matthew Rhode just successfully completed the Journeyman Certification on the fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. We welcomed him into the studio to discuss the course, his approach to time management, the usefulness of a table, and how to be successful on our program. PHOTO: Early morning during solos, looking east. Show Notes: JMB Podcast Episode 110 […]

Oct 22

27 min 28 sec

We’re nearing the end of the fall, 2021 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. We just finished a 48 hour primitive living experience and are headed out on solos tomorrow. In this episode of the JMB Podcast we discuss these experiences, as for listener input on the next step for our online network at BushcraftSchool.com and ask for […]

Oct 16

39 min 51 sec

We’re back after a long hiatus to talk about resiliency, the need to balance stress with recovery, sleeping out in the cold with no sleeping bag in front of a fire, and the need to prepare your hands for a robust outdoor life. We just finished week 6 (of 9) on the fall Wilderness Bushcraft […]

Oct 2

38 min 23 sec

End of the spring semester. Back from our final trip, the spring 2021 Wilderness Guide Training Semester is finished. In this episode of the podcast Christopher and I discuss two aspects of coaching people and how they differ. First is nurturing them to build their confidence, and second is focusing on accountability and what needs […]

Jun 10

27 min 57 sec

The fourth and final installment in our multi-episode reading of On The Trail; Selected Canoe And Snowshoe Trip Journals. This time I read the journal of a 2001 trip on the wilderness waterway through Everglades National Park in Florida. You can download a free copy of On The Trail from the downloads section of BushcraftSchool.com. […]

May 31

46 min 44 sec

“Fly fishing is beautifully regional.” – Paul Sveum Christoper and I welcomed our old friend and Registered Master Maine Guide Paul Sveum into the studio to discuss spring fly fishing in northern Maine. We discuss flies, fly fishing, temperatures that trout like, and a wide variety of other topics. Paul is teaching our Introduction To […]

May 17

31 min 42 sec

The third installment in our multi-episode reading of On The Trail; Selected Canoe And Snowshoe Trip Journals. This time I read the journals from a solo canoe trip on Allagash Lake, a canoe trip on the Big Black River, and a ten-day winter camping trip on the Quebec border with no sleeping bag. You can […]

May 15

25 min 5 sec

The four main jobs of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School semester instructor are teacher, guide, mentor and coach. Christopher and I discuss this, and how the relationship changes and grows during a long course, in this episode of the podcast. You’ll also hear about the new bird neighbors who have built their nest in a […]

May 9

29 min 24 sec

The second installment in our multi-episode reading of On The Trail; Selected Canoe And Snowshoe Trip Journals. This time I read the journals from a 1999 Allagash Wilderness Waterway canoe trip and a 2001 St. John River canoe trip, both in Maine. I’ve run a lot of trips on these rivers in the 20+ years […]

May 2

25 min 2 sec

I’m trying something new – creating an audiobook. For episode 101 of the JMB Podcast I read a chapter from my book On The Trail. The chapter is a journal from a June, 2000 canoe trip on the Swan Lake Canoe Route on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The plan is to work through the book so […]

Apr 25

20 min 18 sec

Recorded at the beginning of week 2 of the spring 2021 semester, we discuss the value of a tangible approach to education as contrasted with an abstract approach. Also we discuss a variety of current events and the genuine surprise felt at making it to 100 episodes. PHOTO: Building a hoop house shelter. Show Notes: […]

Apr 20

32 min 49 sec

Welcome back to the JMB Podcast. After a winter break, we’re back at the field school and beginning the spring 2021 Wilderness Guide Training semester today. For episode 99, we discuss what we did over the winter, which includes catching Covid 19, working to get healthy, working with birds at a museum, and a few […]

Apr 11

24 min 23 sec

For episode 98 of the JMB podcast, we discuss the process of developing wilderness instructors and guides. We outline the following steps to the process: Take a course and get the Journeyman certification Take a medical class, first aid or wilderness first responder Take and pass the test to become a Registered Maine Guide Go […]

Oct 2020

35 min 41 sec

It’s near the end of the fall semester, so we invited some of the current Wilderness Bushcraft Semester students into the Guide Shack so you could hear directly from them about their thoughts about the course. Listen in as they describe their experience and answer a few questions about it. PHOTO: Spring semester students at […]

Oct 2020

26 min 19 sec

We offer several different types of programs, and in this episode of the podcast we describe and define what they are and who they’re for. Two weeks to go in the fall, 2020 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. PHOTO: Big breakfast in camp. Show Notes: JMB Podcast Episode 96 | Differentiating Professional Training Programs Kid-Friendly? Kid friendly, […]

Oct 2020

33 min 45 sec

Minimalism in the wild. In episode 95 of the JMB Podcast Christopher and I discuss the idea of minimalism as compared and contrasted with ultralight in the backcountry. We often discuss our traditional approach to camping, characterized by heavy gear and lots of it. But we also enjoy going light with improvised gear. Going light […]

Oct 2020

33 min 39 sec

In episode 94 of the JMB Podcast Christopher and I discuss the concept of transference; where lessons learned in one space are applied in a different space, in a different way. Sometimes called lateral thinking, it’s about developing deep knowledge. It’s also about developing deep knowledge of problems to be solved. PHOTO: Frost on the […]

Sep 2020

27 min 1 sec

In episode 93 we get listeners caught up with current events, then discuss how in bushcraft (and many other aspects of life), the advanced skills are the basics mastered; there is not a separate set of skills for advanced practitioners. It’s all about depth of knowledge. PHOTO: Canoeing on a northern Maine lake Show Notes: […]


Sep 2020

21 min 56 sec

We welcomed Ryan Holt into the studio for episode 92. Ryan is a Jack Mountain Bushcraft School alum and has completed 4 challenges on the television show Naked & Afraid. He is the owner of the Human-Nature Hostel in Roxbury, Maine. We talk about his time on tv, his work running a hostel for Appalachian […]


Sep 2020

25 min 53 sec

Recorded on September 8th at the new Jack Mountain Bushcraft School hq studio, episode 90 features Tim Smith and Colin Clifford talking about Colin’s recent 10-day Allagash solo canoe trip. PHOTO: Tim Cole coming into Round Pond on the Allagash from a few years back. Show Notes: JMB Podcast Episode 91 | 10-Day Allagash Solo […]

Sep 2020

37 min 3 sec

Recorded on July 2nd by a very tired Tim Smith and Christopher Russell, episode 90 is about the challenges faced in participating in, as well as running, our semester courses. It was hot and buggy and we were tired from a long semester, but we talked about events that were current and prognosticated on some […]

Sep 2020

30 min 26 sec

In episode 89 Christopher and I discuss the philosophy of friluftsliv, a traditional Scandinavian approach to the natural world. Loosely translated, it means “open air life”. It’s different than how most people see nature in the USA, and is the basis for the part-time, yearlong immersion program we’re currently developing, to be run in southern […]

Jun 2020

25 min 8 sec

We just wrapped up week 7 of the Wilderness Guide Training Semester. Weeks 6 and 7 were spent on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and it’s appropriate that during a guide training semester we had to do some guide stuff. Specifically, we had to medically evacuate a participant on the trip. For the story, listen to […]


Jun 2020

31 min 11 sec

In episode 87 we discuss the new part-time, yearlong immersion program we’re currently developing, to be run in southern Vermont. We also catch up with current events at the field school. PHOTO: Turtle on the Aroostook River. Kid-Friendly? Kid-friendly, no profanity. Links: The Friluftsliv Forest Program JMBS Master Calendar   iTunes Link | Play, Download […]

Jun 2020

32 min 6 sec

In episode 86 of the JMB podcast Christopher and I discuss the effect the coronavirus has had on each of our lives, I rant about national canoe certifications and how they’re meaningless to me after getting burned by them a few times, I explain how we’re creating our own standalone canoe certifications, and then we […]

Apr 2020

29 min 40 sec

Back from a long hiatus, for episode 85 Christopher and I discuss his new project: The School Of The Forest Podcast. He’s interviewing people who are not directly in the bushcraft business, but their work can help us learn more about our world. Want to learn more? Listen to the episode. PHOTO: SOTF Podcast Page. […]

Apr 2020

10 min 52 sec

For episode 84 of the JMB Podcast I sat down with Seth Walton from the Mid-Coast School Of Technology’s Outdoor Leadership Program in Rockland, Maine. We talked about his work with the program, which is currently in year one. We discuss the challenges of logistics in outdoor programming, how the realities of the job match […]

Feb 2020

33 min 6 sec

For episode 83 I was joined by Christopher Russell for a discussion of upcoming programs, changes to the way students can receive college credit for their time with us, and how short shorts are making a comeback. PHOTO: Pack and axe hanging in an axe. Kid-Friendly? Yes, no profanity. Links: Jack Mountain credit through UMPI […]

Jan 2020

32 min 43 sec

For episode 82 of the podcast I spoke with Ron Waline. Ron runs the Wilderness And Wellness Podcast and the Coyote’s Path website. We have a rambling discussion about education, the importance of experience, and how life is busy. Ron will be releasing this episode on his podcast as well. If you’re interested in the […]


Jan 2020

57 min 41 sec

Episode 81, the legend of the Iron Spoon. A true story about the legendary heros of the Iron Spoon challenge and how they helped a country get its mojo back. The Quick Stop 2 in Ashland, Maine, has some big ice creams. So large that people on Jack Mountain courses have made it a contest […]

Jan 2020

13 min 22 sec

Episode 80 is an interview I did with a student at the end of the fall semester as part of her independent study for college credit. The audio levels are low so you’ll have to turn it up, but I think we covered some interesting topics that make it worthwhile. We discuss the origin of […]


Jan 2020

35 min 10 sec

In episode 79, we celebrate our friend and mentor Mors Kochanski who recently passed away. We also get caught up with current events then talk about how our business plan is with a niche audience, not a mass audience. We’re looking to make a deep connection with a handful of people, not a superficial connection […]

Jan 2020

22 min 14 sec

In a world that values comfort, embracing challenge and doing hard things is rare. In this episode of the podcast we discuss the challenges inherent in the spring, 2020 Wilderness Guide Training Semester. We also discuss current events and upcoming programs. PHOTO: Loading canoes at a remote camp on the fall, 2019 semester. Kid-Friendly? There […]

Sep 2019

25 min 33 sec

It’s week 3 of the fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, and for episode 77 of the podcast we spoke with students on the course. We learned about their first impressions of life in the woods, discussed the trapping class we took as a group and the role that trapping plays in studying mammals, and checked in […]


Aug 2019

29 min 58 sec

Tracking mammals is the topic for episode 76 of the JMB Podcast. We discuss how we approach teaching tracking, the three types of tracking (clear print, pattern, sign), the three tasks of the tracker (locate, identify, interpret), and why jumping to conclusions is bad, but jumping to exclusions is good. Also covered is why bother […]

Aug 2019

38 min 8 sec

Episode 75 starts with a government conspiracy (to us, anyway) regarding whether the whoopie pie is the official state dessert or just the state treat of Maine, then we discuss how a hornet’s nest has stopped us from being able to print anything at the field school for a few days. Next we discuss the […]

Aug 2019

22 min 16 sec

There are three jobs that go with running a school: presenting information, having students do something useful with that information, and assessing the student to see where they are on the continuum of experience. However, most outdoor schools are simply venues for information to be presented. Information is not the same as education. In fact, […]

Aug 2019

29 min 10 sec

Episode 73 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft podcast was recorded in the Guide Shack on Saturday, July 27th immediately following the Riverman canoe expedition skills course. I was joined by Brian Manning, Darrin Baird and Blake Towsley, and we discussed the course, learning traditional canoe skills and why they matter in the modern world. PHOTO: […]

Jul 2019

28 min 26 sec

Very few people who play sports will become professional athletes. But in addition to the obvious physical benefits of playing sports, we learn other things that are applicable and valuable off the field. It’s the same with bushcraft and survival training. As this field continues to grow exponentially, it’s important to remember that not everyone […]

Jul 2019

25 min 23 sec

Episode 71 was recorded at a remote campsite in the North Maine Woods while students were out on solos. We discuss solos and how far students have come during the course. Then we address a listener question regarding the challenge of maintaining relationships when working away from home for long stretches of time. PHOTO: Recording […]

Jun 2019

33 min 56 sec

We’re nearing the end of our spring 2019 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. Today begins week 8, and we’re headed out for the final expedition of the course. This means you won’t hear from us for a few weeks as we’ll be off the grid. In this episode we talk about the realities of being consistent with […]

Jun 2019

13 min 24 sec

How to choose a wilderness immersion program is the topic for episode 69 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast. Christopher and I discuss the three things a potential student should ask themselves and the ten things a student should look for in a school. Having run such programs for over 20 years, I hate surprises. […]

Jun 2019

41 min 48 sec

Episode 68 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast is about the assessment system we use for our immersion programs. Christopher and I discuss the role of assessment on a long-term program, the crucial role of academic study to learn deeply, and a true story that drives home the need to learn the scientific names of […]

Jun 2019

26 min 56 sec

Episode 67 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft podcast starts with a rant against how outdoor living was broken into two options by a tv writer in 2009: tactical or hippie. Then we talk about the Jack Mountain approach which is neither of those options; the experiential anthropological approach. We talk about how experience shapes a […]

Jun 2019

32 min 3 sec

Episode 66 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast is about the challenges that come with the job of being a professional guide and outdoor instructor. While what we do can look idyllic from the outside, it’s not without difficulty. Christopher and I discuss 8 specific challenges that come with the job: You are never off […]

Jun 2019

28 min 54 sec

Episode 65 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast, recorded on Halfway Day on the spring, 2019 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester course. We catch up with the students and get some of their insights, discuss Christopher’s love affair with his new (to him) canoe, and talk about possibly differentiating the spring and fall semesters in 2020, with […]

May 2019

37 min 47 sec

Episode 64 of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Podcast is about how all outdoor knowledge is local knowledge, and how the idea of a global expert is a myth. For the episode I was joined by old friend and frequent podcast guest Blake Towsley. PHOTO: Allagash falls from the canoe, taken summer 2018. Kid-Friendly? Profanity In […]


May 2019

32 min 7 sec

For episode 63 of the JMB Podcast we gathered with the students on the current Wilderness Bushcraft Semester in the Guide Shack on a cool morning before heading down to the river. We check in with Jeremy and Anthony and get their perspective on the course, the realities of living outdoors, using hand tools, and […]


May 2019

42 min 25 sec

Episode 62 is about how to know a place. Part of what we teach on our immersion programs is how to be at home in the forest. This includes both academic and experiential components, which we discuss. We also talk about the Masardis glacier and give an update about our articulation agreement with the University […]

May 2019

31 min 22 sec

Episode 61 is about standards-based professional training. We’re speaking to potential students and giving them an idea of what to expect. In a nutshell, it’s hard, there’s a lot of work, and you have to be mature to to deal with the adversity it produces in a positive way. When things don’t go your way, […]

May 2019

31 min 13 sec