8-Day Wilderness Canoe Immersion

Dates to be announced soon!


Join Abel Bean on an 8-day canoeing adventure through the Headwaters Wilderness of northern Wisconsin, located in the pristine Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest. The Canoe Immersion utilizes a minimalist approach to living in the wilderness with nothing but the bare essentials. In just 8 days, you’ll learn: 

  • Basic and advanced canoe maneuvering techniques
  • Efficient paddling methods
  • Stealth canoeing

You will also learn how to:

  • Scout for the best campsites
  • Make fire by friction and advanced fire tending
  • Navigate the wilderness without the help of a compass or GPS (lost-proofing)
  • Predict the weather without instruments
  • Primitive cooking (without the help of pots, pans, or utensils)
  • Set up a cordless tarp for shelter
  • Wildlife tracking

While there is an emphasis on wilderness survival and canoeing skills, participants will also be guided towards a deeper relationship with themselves and the natural world through team building, speaking one’s truth, and dream sharing.

Program Information

Date: To be announced

Location: Pine River, located in the Headwaters Wilderness of Northern Wisconsin

Tuition: $850 and includes food and instruction. Participants also need to pay a $250 refundable rental deposit for the solo canoe, paddle, life vest, and tarp.

For more information or to request an application, email wildernesscanoe (at) teachingdrum (dot) org.

Abel (Chris) Bean

Abel (Chris) Bean

Senior Wilderness Guide

Abel is a professional level wilderness guide with 15 years of experience at Teaching Drum Outdoor School. His expertise puts him in the top tier of wilderness skills professionals where he excels in the areas of shelter building, friction fire making, hide tanning, wilderness foraging, primitive cooking, solo canoeing, orienteering, weather forecasting, dreamwork, and co-parenting. He scored Level 3 in the 2015 Track and Sign Evaluation and holds a current Wilderness First Responder certification. To find out more about Abel, visit the staff biography page.

The Headwaters Wilderness

is the largest of Wisconsin’s wilderness, where wolves and bears scout the shorelines; beaver, muskrat, and otter ply the waters; and a host of birds grace the scene with song and color. Expanses of marsh grass, wild rice, and cattails blanket the shallows, while golden water lilies dapple the surface of the deeper waters. It is also characterized by forested swamps and muskeg, bog lowlands, hardwood ridges, and the largest and oldest trees of the Nicolet National Forest.

In 1965, the Wisconsin legislature designated the Pine River a wild river to protect it from development. Access is limited and the area is rugged. Canoeing on the Pine River is a wild experience for any nature enthusiast that holds many opportunities to see the natural inhabitants up close in their natural habitats.