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Certain works of pop culture have a magic way of portraying the wilderness. Even when the hero is stranded in the woods after a plane crash, paddling dangerous rapids with criminals, or escaping grief on the Pacific Crest Trail, there’s something that makes you wish you were there, too. But what if you could go to those stunning places you’ve only read about in books or seen on the big screen? Here’s how to get close.

(Courtesy Canadian Wilderness School)

Hatchet, the seminal 1987 young-adult novel by Gary Paulsen, is about a 13-year-old boy named Brian whose bush plane crashes somewhere in Canada’s North Woods. With his hatchet, he learns to survive alone in the unforgiving forest. Paulsen never states exactly where the book is set, but for a glimpse at what Brian’s life would have been like, sign up for a survival expedition with the Alberta-based Canadian Wilderness School. Its two-day intro to bushcraft course ($213) teaches survival skills like fire starting, shelter building, knot tying, and, yes, how to hunt with a hatchet.

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