“The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”

By: Erin Erickson


        As the last of the food and bowls were being packed into bear bags, and the first tired yawns of the night began to sound, the Youth Leadership Class of 2016 gathered around the fire pit. When night fell, everyone always looked forward to one of the most rewarding parts of the backpacking adventure: reflection time. Reflecting on the day helped the group develop a tighter bond and the routine became comfortable and welcoming every night.

        Reflection time consisted of playing the game “Rose, Thorn, and Bud,” where we would all gather in a circle and one at a time tell what the best and worst part of our day was, and what we were looking forward to most for the next day. The “roses” and “buds”  often included getting to spend more time together, and time swimming in the rivers. However, there were hardly ever “thorns” because the group’s attitude remained positive throughout the whole trip, despite some inclement weather and trail damage.

        For a group of rising ninth graders to be so mature and thoughtful while reflecting on the day is rare, and getting to be a part of that was one of the best parts of the whole trip. Reminiscing on the days spent in nature makes everything more genuine. And as Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  We made memories in the backcountry that we will someday tell our children, memories that we will look back on with smiles and try our hardest never to forget. But most of all, it is our job as the Youth Leadership Class of 2016 to ensure that future generations can make memories just as we did, in Earth’s most magical setting: nature.


2 thoughts on ““The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”

  1. Erin- wonderful memories of the time on the trail. With such a great experience behind you all, how do you maintain that level of energy and inspiration as the school year starts?

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