A Trip to Walden Woods


On Monday, May 11, Mrs. Carter’s journalism class and Ms. Foley’s English class took a trip to Walden Woods to learn about Henry David Thoreau and report on his experience of living simply. The students and teachers walked along the same trails Thoreau did almost two hundred years ago.

A few years back the Middlesex County Commissioners wanted to destroy the area and a group gathered to protest this idea. None other than Don Henley, the famous Eagles musician, helped raise money and saved this land. Since then, pieces of Walden Woods have been preserved and this program has since been renamed the Walden Woods Project, an organization that guided our group.

Several quotes from Thoreau and other influential people that were involved in his transcendental lifestyle experience were engraved in stone and scattered throughout the trails in Walden Woods. These quotes displayed Thoreau’s aspiration to live simply and helped him to decide to live away from technology and the forces of the outside world. One quote that was displayed in the woods that depicted Thoreau’s ideas was, “ not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves”

Though the hike was mostly meant to be educational to experience, Thoreau’s way of living, and the beautiful scenery filled Walden Woods. The walk through the woods took about an hour and that the groups regathered in the “Reflection Circle”,  where they were able to meet the one and only Henry David Thoreau.

Richard Smith, the actor and historian, who played Thoreau, knew every personality trait, fact, and experience in Thoreau’s simple life as if it were his own. While he acted in his Thoreau personality, he really tried to express that Thoreau’s individuality opinions and he believed that the only person he should aspire to be is himself and not look up to others as heroes. He mentioned multiple other people that affected his life and writing such as the Alcotts, Emerson and Hawthorne, all of whom he was well acquainted with. In Thoreau’s example of simplicity, one can live on his own, separated from the technology that the world has offered. Imagining  a life without Instagram and Snapchat (or any technology at all) and living in a little one room house in the wilderness is almost unthinkable, but Thoreau experienced it himself.