A lot can go wrong out in the woods, as many students can attest. Of Patrick McDonald-Meteer’s six matches, five wouldn’t light; when Casey Flaherty made his debris hut, snow fell through the roof and crushed his bivy sack; Hannah Kleppner lost her knife; Kenzie Schoenthaler stepped on his water jug, creating a fountain that extinguished his fire.
Another challenge was figuring out just how to spend roughly 72 hours without the usual company of people, cellphones, and Facebook.
The long, dark nights made one strategy popular: “Survival is a great course for AP students because it is the most sleep you will get all year,” observed Harrelson, a senior.
Added Schoenthaler, a junior: “I counted mine, and I got 35 hours of sleep in three nights.”
But there were a lot of positives to take away from the experience, students said.
“I am an extremely social person,’’ said senior Charlotte Stobbe. “I love talking to people. I love singing. So I thought, ‘I’ll talk to myself and I’ll go insane.’ But I didn’t. It was just so quiet and peaceful, and I felt if I talked or sang, it would be like ruining the beautiful nature. So I just soaked in the nature, and it was really calming.’’
Alex Boucher, a junior, also appreciated the solitude. “You have a lot of time to sit down and think about stuff. I had a lot of time to reflect on past events and myself. You really go through a self-realization about who you are as a person.’’
Tristan Jantz, also a junior, read Thoreau’s “Walden’’ while he was in the woods, and it resonated with him.
“He talks about how unnecessary these big lavish houses are, and it’s really true: You can just have a little shelter and be out there in the woods and be happy,” Jantz said.
All of which makes Tremblay think, yeah, they get it.
“The whole camping-in-the-wilderness is kind of an allegory,’’ said Tremblay, 50, a resident of Templeton.
“It’s preparing them for leaving the nest and moving to a strange city and living on their own, being their own resource, learning to do without. I see it as preparation for life after high school. What they get out of it is a sense that ‘Hey, I can really do something.’ ”
David Desjardins can be reached at davidgdesjardins@ globe.com.