Daniel Boone was naturalists that understood and appreciated nature. Thoreau was like a 10-year-old camping in the back yard, who discovers an earth worm and thinks they have just made a scientific discovery.
Only people as sheltered and naive as Thoreau find his epiphanies noteworthy.
Have you read Walden? Thoreau had a great sense of humor about what he was doing and didn’t try to imbue it with any false grandeur. He was much smarter than all the people who have (mis)read him over the years.
I was going to make a joke about the Walden Pond exercise being a step up from making a fort of his mother's kitchen table, but you really put truth to words.