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  • by Austin Campbell March 01, 2016 3 min read 3 Comments

    The Wisdom of Legendary Naturalist Henry David Thoreau

    5 Inspiring Quotes from Henry David Thoreau

    Henry David Thoreau is probably best known for his love of nature and writing Walden, detailing his time living simply in a small cabin next to Walden Pond. If Thoreau was alive today he'd probably make an awesome dirtbag, living in a van so that he could travel and adventure outdoors. Here we have collected a few of our favorite quotes from Thoreau. These quotes inspire us to spend more time hiking, less time inside, and we hope they inspire you too!


    1. Henry David Thoreau on Living Life Deliberately 

    What does it really mean to live? And how does living simply in the woods allow one to experience more of life than living in civilization? These are some of the big questions Thoreau tried to answer living at Walden Pond. For each person, the answer is probably different, but we know that spending time in the woods hiking, backpacking, or camping has always taught us more about life than sitting at home. 

    Henry David Thoreau on living life deliberately

    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau


    2. Henry David Thoreau on Heaven

    We don't know if there is a place after this life called Heaven, but we know that being in the mountains is the closest thing we have experienced to Heaven on Earth. Next time you head into the backcountry reflect on the beauty of everything you encounter and you will feel an appreciation for the beauty of our planet that can only be described as spiritually rejuvenating. 

    Henry David Thoreau on Heaven on Earth

    "Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads." - Henry David Thoreau


    3. Henry David Thoreau on the Beauty of Lakes

    Thoreau did some of his most famous writing near a small lake and we've done some of our best camping next to alpine lakes. Not to mention, many of the best hiking trails end at lakes, which makes us think Thoreau was on to something. Whether it is the convenient hydration or the chance for self-reflection there is something special about a secluded lake. 

    Henry David Thoreau on the Beauty of Lakes

    "A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." - Henry David Thoreau


    4. Henry David Thoreau on the Power of Nature

    Thoreau went to the woods often and embraced living simply and in harmony with nature. We can attest to the power of a walk in the woods, every time we go hiking we return to the trailhead physically tired, yet mentally rejuvenated. 

    Henry David Thoreau on the Power of Nature

    "I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees." - Henry David Thoreau


    5. Henry David Thoreau on Freedom

    Henry David Thoreau believed in the value of nature in the wild. He also lived through a time in America when not all people were free and strongly opposed slavery and participated in the abolitionist movement and underground railroad. So when Thoreau says, "All good things are wild and free" he really meant it. 

    Henry David Thoreau on Freedom

    "All good things are wild and free." - Henry David Thoreau

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    Austin Campbell
    Austin Campbell

    Austin lives in the Pacific Northwest where he enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.

    3 Responses

    Thom Gerst
    Thom Gerst

    September 12, 2019

    I’m wondering if Mark would offer some information to support his assertion.

    Mark Gallagher
    Mark Gallagher

    June 18, 2019

    Henry Thoreau did not say “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” Please stop spreading this misquotation.


    August 21, 2017

    thanks, Austin!

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