“This is the trip I have dreamed about for years…I ‘came home’ on this trip with wonderful companions and remarkable leaders.”
Our summer trips are ideal for women new to canoe camping or
for long-time paddlers ready for their next adventure
Given that my speaking schedule only allows for a couple of canoe trips per year and the groups are small and fill quickly, I don’t list them on the website. Instead, I want to hear from you! Click the ‘Connect’ link at the top of this page, or send me an email, and tell me what Wild adventure(s) is calling to you and why:
Most years, the Wisconsin and Minnesota trips take place. For Utah or Ontario, we keep a growing list of women interested in these adventures, and run the trips periodically.
Know that Wild Institute trips are ideal for women new to canoe camping or for long time paddlers who want to just show up and have all the details taken care of. You do not need any canoeing or camping experience, just an adventurous spirit. Some of the trips are more strenuous than others. We’ll tell you all about them once you’ve contacted us.
Thanks for your interest. I look forward to traveling with you.
Wild and Scenic River Canoeing
If it’s time to take stock of your “one wild and precious life” (Mary Oliver, a favorite poet,), then it’s a good time to head to a Wild and Scenic river, paddle, camp, really truly exhale, sleep on the ground, watch the sunset, use your body, listen to frogs and whippoorwills, and be in the company of other fine Wild women. Come alone or with a friend, either way, everyone on the trip will share this desire to give their Wild spirits a little elbow room in their lives.
River canoeing is both peaceful and playful, with some riffles (not big enough to be called whitewater) to focus your attention from time to time. Perfect for beginners or long-time paddlers, we camp along the shore (picnic tables, fire pit, latrine toilet) and follow the current downstream. Expect a range of deep conversation and raucous belly laughs; silence and simplicity; physicality and stillness; poetry and native flute; and always, the power and beauty of the natural world as our companion and teacher.
Ballpark trip fee $1095/person: Is all inclusive from the river put-in (amazing meals, all equipment, car shuttle, and Chris Heeter and friends as your guides).
Classic Canoe Country: Boundary Waters
Wilderness canoeing at its finest — big lakes, intimate streams, waterfalls, well maintained portage trails. No experience necessary, just a desire to be in this incredible landscape and to connect with your Wild side. Tent camping with gorgeous sunsets and loons to sing you to sleep. Our route allows for plenty of time for paddling, portaging, swimming, hunting for wild mushrooms, photography, journaling, relaxing. Due to the portaging, you’ll want to be comfortable carrying a pack (~25-40lbs) for about a half mile (our longest portage). We don’t push it and truly enjoy the hike back over the portage to carry another load of gear. Contact us if you are concerned about your fitness level for this trip—women of all ages and sizes have enjoyed these trips over the years.
Ballpark trip fee $1595/person: includes hotel on the first night (double occupancy), all canoe and camping equipment, permits, all meals on the trail, and Chris Heeter as your guide (and poet), with over 30 years of experience guiding women’s trips.
Wabakimi Provincial Park, Ontario
150 miles north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. If you are looking for a truly remote but not too rugged wilderness canoe experience, then you would do well to consider this trip. Remote, beautiful, quiet. Wabakimi Provincial Park, near Lake Nipigon, encompasses thundering waterfalls, intimate streams, small sand beaches, quiet expanses of lakes and rivers, and every possible shade of green! We frequently see beaver, moose, the occasional woodland caribou, eagle, northern lights, osprey, abundant walleye, beaver, otter, and many more. The park includes three million acres, three times the size of the Boundary Waters and Quetico combined, with one-tenth of the people visiting the park. We take the Canadian Railroad into the park, get dropped off, and paddle north through some wonderfully untouched areas of boreal forest. The end of the trip, we’re picked up by seaplane and flown back to our bed and breakfast for a shower and a meal before heading home. This trip is not for everyone, but our focus is not about seeing how many miles we can make.. Rather, we move at a pace that allows for taking time to fully experience the beauty and privilege of traveling in this remote wilderness.
Ballpark trip fee $3000/person: includes lodging at Wildwaters Bed and Breakfast; shuttle to the train and train fare; seaplane; all group gear; Ontario camping permits; delicious meals throughout the trip; a safe place to store cars and gear while on the water; a shower and optional hot tub at the end of the trip at the B+B, and Chris Heeter and friends as your guides.
Green River, Southeastern Utah
Canoeing and Hiking Canyon Country
50 miles west of Moab, Utah. Stunningly beautiful paddling on this gentle river down Labyrinth Canyon just outside of Canyonlands National Park. Desert travel allows for soft camping on sand bars, hikes up side canyons, petroglyphs, swimming, river rocks, canyon echoes, native flute, stars, poetry, every possible shade of red. Author Terry Tempest Williams calls this area home, “where beauty is found in what is raw and spare and lean.” Raven, coyote, beaver, great blue heron, canyon wren, kit fox, and mule deer are our neighbors. Minimum length trip is 5 days, great for groups of mixed energy levels (all hiking optional).
Ballpark trip fee $2500/person: includes all equipment, permits, shuttles to and from the river, 2 night’s lodging in a hotel in Moab, amazing meals on the river, and Chris Heeter and friends as your guides