Wandering Around Out There With A Canoe On My Head

Kevin Callan’s Wilderness Quest

by Preston
April 19, 2012

Does Wilderness still exist? Kevin Callan wants to find out for his new DVD Wilderness Quest – and of course he does it in his own unique way. See below for details on how to view the film or get your own DVD copy.

A Beautiful Film

The movie is part documentary, part philosophy and, as one would expect from Kevin, part slapstick. Filmed beautifully in Quetico Provincial Park, the viewer gets to travel along on one of his trips, from begining to end. Quetico is a good choice for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a great spot to go canoeing, and definitely can be described as a wilderness. From paddling down remote rivers, to portaging rough terrain, to weathering storms and dealing with bugs, you get to experience it all. If you’ve never been out in any wilderness, you might wonder why others watching look on wanting to be there. Kevin makes a good point early in the film that it’s the usually the bad stories that we’re always telling when we get back from our trips. I do this all the time. Are we keeping others from the wilderness by telling only the bad stuff? Kevin’s film has much more good than bad. Maybe there should be more films like this. Quetico certainly is a great setting to show how great wilderness can look, and this film sure does have some great views.

What’s also interesting about choosing Quetico though, is that it and the connected Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) over the American border is actually more wild now than it was centuries ago when mining, logging and the fur trade had people running through the area quite a bit. Before that, it was part of a connection of major canoe routes used by the Native Americans, and still contains many sites of both archaeological and spiritual value. It’s also a place where few people visit. Watch for a make-shift infographic on visitors of the park.

If you’re a super important blogger like me, you can get your DVD autographed. That or just ask him at one of his shows. Either way.

The Answer

So what is the answer to his question? Yes, we all know there are wild places, places where civilization has not yet swallowed up, in fact most of us still know where some of them are. What he’s really asking is whether or not we know about wilderness. Have we all been there? Have we all experienced it? Do we really know why it’s so important? Throughout the film, when passing through the park, Kevin and his crew would interview people about why they were out there. Most of the observations were different, but the consensus was that these places are important and impactful. It’s actually a pretty tough to describe why we love to go into the woods. It’s energizing, therapeutic and grounding. And yet statistically, less people are going into the wilderness. Is our convenient lifestyle making wilderness unattainable? The funny thing is that farther inside the park, the better the interviews were. Apparently Kevin and crew met and talked to a few people closer to the park’s entrance but didn’t get very good insights. They concluded that this was proof of the impact of nature, where those that had been out in the wild longer were more tuned in tune, more inspired and so were more able to convey what it is that the outdoor does to us, and why we need it.

Teaser Trailer:



I should also mention that I watched this DVD when my family was over, some avid campers, some not. There were parts that really cracked my family up – all of us. If you don’t know Kevin Callan, the best way to describe him would be “goofy” – the good kind of course. If you’ve ever been on a canoe trip the antics are all very relatable, whether it’s a twig slapping you in the face, water suddenly a lot more deep than expected or that guy wire you’re always running into not matter how many times you remind yourself it’s there or how bright the rope may be … or is that just me? My point is that the humour too comes from the outdoor experience. The kind of fun memories you can only have by getting yourself into the wilderness. But Kevin is great at making the experiences relatable to everyone, and by showing you the views, the fun, and the deep sense of fulfillment everyone seems to get by experiencing the wilderness, he makes a very convincing argument to get out there yourself.

Maybe the question really is supposed to be “Does Wilderness exist… for me?”

Want to see the film?

I was able to see the “World Premiere” at the Outdoor Adventure Show and Kevin has been showing the film at many events. The next is at the Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co. (367 King St. W. in Toronto) on Saturday April 21st. Event details can be seen here. They also have some great workshops and events, including one the next day with Kevin Callan himself on multi-day and solo trip planning. I took a course that he taught and loved the experience. You will to.

Want the DVD?

The most direct way to get a copy is from Kevin’s website. But as I mentioned, Kevin’s been showing the film several places, so this would be the easiest way to get a copy. Plus, buy the DVD and I hear he’s more than glad to autograph a copy for you to take home. If you can’t make it this Saturday, Kevin has a few more appearances scheduled which you can see from his Road Show page.

Get the latest updates
Preston and Nancy the dog pose with a Paddle in the Park Contest paddle
Keep up to date
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.