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I took food for granted growing up always having hot meals and an abundance on holidays. My mother cooks the best comfort food with plenty of love,(and butter!) and prepares meals for those who can’t themselves. Besides Mom, an Outward Bound excursion opened my eyes to the importance of food and community. At the end of the first day out, starving, I was with seven newly made friends after a long paddle. The designated cooks prepared a meal while the rest of the team set camp. Dinner brought us together to talk about the day and time for each of us to give an introduction and share personal histories. Food brought this new community/tribe together and changed our state of being under challenging circumstances.

Years later at the Tracker School’s Standard course one day was given to primitive cooking with demonstrations on boiling, grilling, roasting, steaming, smoking, frying and baking. The methods were interesting, but more so was the lecture on the importance of food bringing family and community together. The lecture was powerful and soul striking I’ve heard. Great detail went into a moving personal story and how the Native community bonded through the hunt, preparation and feasting. Part of the lecture were reasons fast foods aren’t desirable. We know the unhealthy aspects of fast and medium fast foods from field to wrapper. Going with these fast(er) foods is eating fast with little conversation. It feels right to give thanks to a turkey but surely not a McCheeseburger.

One memorable meal happened unplanned because of my oversight. I was giving a presentation of a trip to India and wanted a complete theme ordering Indian food from a local restaurant along with preparing a few dishes. Little did I know the complexity of cooking Indian food. People began to arrive and the meal was half prepared. Instead of friends watching and waiting they joined in cutting, chopping, and stirring. We created the meal together adding “flavor” to the experience. A true community effort.

Being part of a community effort has been volunteering to prepare and serve foods for homeless or less fortunate. The day after Christmas 400 meals were prepared and served at the St. Francis House in Boston. Volunteers and workers came together, as they do each day to serve the poorest in the city. It was discerning to see those who suffer mental illness coming in from the streets. Boston in the winter is no place for people with this disease and of course they shouldn’t be living in the streets in any city or town. A complex situation where more help and effort is needed.

In a fast paced world slow the time, give thanks, enjoy homemade foods, good company and good conversation. Consider giving back a days effort to cleanse the soul.

Peace & Happy New Year! – Greg

“If you want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.”  Cesar Chavez

A favorite dish to serve or bring to a community gathering. (Thanks Gramp!)

Grampa Roy’s Salmon PieGramp Emile Joseph Roy 1916 - 1978    TEC 5 US Army WWII

  • 2 – 14 oz. cans Red Salmon
  • 3 – 4 Medium peeled potatoes cut into 3/4 inch cubes, boiled until soft
  • 1 Medium onion chopped fine sautéed until translucent
  • 1 Celery stalk chopped fine and sautéed until tender (optional)
  • Pie Crust – 2 pieces (store bought or homemade)
  • Dashes of salt and pepper are optional. (I do this to taste after.)
  • Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Serve with a medium white sauce.
  • Cooked frozen peas.
  1. Drain salmon keeping juice.
  2. Put salmon into a large bowl and remove skin and bones.
  3. Add 1/2 of the drained salmon juice.
  4. Add sautéed onion, celery and potatoes.
  5. Add additional spices if desired.
  6. Mix with hand masher.
  7. Line 9“ pie plate with one pie crust and add filling.
  8. Cover with second pie crust and pinch edges.
  9. Dot top with fork.
  10. Brush with egg wash.Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then turn down to 325 for 45 minutes.

White Sauce (optional as my grandfather would pass on this!)

  • 1.5 Cups Milk
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs Flour
  1. Melt butter
  2. Slowly whisk in flour
  3. Add milk and whisk until almost to a boil (add flour to thicken or milk to thin)

Serve white sauce over individual slices. Mix white sauce and peas if desired.


The Peaceful Pathfinder blog has been live for ten months. Thank you for following. To date, posts have focused on travel, hiking, and camping experiences. To not make this another travel blog I offer an addition of thoughts why I immerse myself into the natural world. There are people who have had personal impact directly and indirectly, either through their presence, books, or philosophy contributing to my immersion and writing. They’ll be noted and I’ll continue to include past and present travels since there is much to share.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

I shamelessly borrowed the title of a new book, Environmental Connection*, my “Brother”, Keith Cowley recently released for the name of this post. Coming to the forefront of why I enjoy outdoor excursions and immersions is connection with the environment and wildlife. This connection brings me Peace. Hence Peaceful Pathfinder.  A name Keith is partly responsible for. Discussing Native American ways, travels, outdoor education and similar philosophies for a few years with him I mentioned creating a blog and couldn’t find a fitting word to follow Peaceful. Peaceful Warrior has been taken by Dan Millman and “warrior” is overused outside of its true meaning. Keith took a few minutes and presented Pathfinder. The Peaceful Pathfinder name was born. A name containing many meanings. One I present to you here and more will follow in future posts. For this post I present Peace.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

Being in the natural environment in any of my pursuits from fishing to climbing brings Peace. What does Peace mean in this context? For me, this Peace is a calm sense of being bringing a clear mind. When Peace is present my breathing relaxes, my heart slows, shoulders drop, face eases, and senses of smell, touch, and hearing become heightened. The smell of the ocean, sounds of waves and loons, and beauty from northeastern lakes to the granite mountains of the Tetons and the rugged coast of Big Sur are favorites engrained in my mind. Each bringing Peace.

The Tetons, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The Tetons, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The natural environment brings Peace during times of heartache, stress and anxiety. Mother Earth has her healing ways. Presence of physical pain is the most difficult time to receive Peace. Controlled, aware breathing helps temporarily reduce or eliminate discomfort, even if for a short period. There are many sacred places, a Native American term, I go to get connected to relieve discomfort life can bring or just accept. Sacred places are special areas within a favorite location. You may have one or more you’re not aware of. Do you find yourself going to a certain outdoor place and think? If so, you have a sacred place. Being near water especially brings calmness which helps from my experience.

Osprey and Sunset, Napatree Point, Rhode Island

Osprey and Sunset, Napatree Point, Rhode Island

Special close encounters with wildlife bring a Peaceful connectedness along with contained excitement. A beaver slapping it’s tail a few feet away, hearing a deer tear at grass, sitting with a black phase rattlesnake, a fisher at my feet, watching a dozen turkey vultures ride thermals in front and below me are times I’ve had the experience. Words do little to describe these times. Native Americans have a saying “Mitakuye Oyasin”. ‘All my relations.’, ‘We are related.’, ‘All are connected.’ are a few of the meanings. Much can be learned from observing the web of nature. A web we’re connected to.

Deer at McLeans Game Refuge, Granby, Connecticut

Environmental connection is what inspires me from short nature walks to harsh winter summits of Mt. Washington, always respecting what Mother Nature is capable of.  When I have this connection I’m at Peace and my essence arises. It’s at these times I’m most confident in an non-egoic way.

Summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

Summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

The next time you’re on a nature walk or an outdoor excursion intently notice the environment around you. Observe nature, the sound of water, the shape of trees, the smell of the pines and the animal or bird you’ve seen again and again. Look for something you haven’t noticed before. You may sense and find new inner Peace.

As Always, Peace – Greg

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  – John Muir

Storm Over Tetons

Storm Over the Tetons

*Note: I highly recommend Environmental Connection. Keith’s thought provoking book includes fascinating stories of his deep immersion into Westerly, RI Land Trust preserves. His words resonate in and outside of the natural environment enriching daily life. Funds from his book benefit the New-Native Foundation bringing outdoor educators together dispersing their knowledge to children and adults. (The New-Native Foundation is a non-profit in development and in pursuit of 501(c)3 status.)

Famous Pathfinders

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