Picnic at Willow Creek


Simple ingredients that pack easily and combine well make for an ideal picnic.

As much as I love to cook, some of my favorite meals are simple assemblages, preferably packed as a picnic for a day of hiking or paddling. Nothing tastes better than a few simple ingredients carefully chosen to complement the season and the destination.

Beginning by the coast where Willow Creek drains to the Russian River, Ene and I hiked inland along the marshes that flank the stream, making our way up to where willow, cattail and cottonwood give way to oak and bay. We found an abandoned barn and spread our larder of goat cheese, smoked salmon, walnut baguette, radishes and cress, finished off with steaming hot tea and dried apricots. We sat in the sun listening to the creek gather itself, Ene cut some willow’s catkin and we made our return, energized by the tea and our delicious picnic at Willow Creek.

willow creek hills

Cattails and willow grow in abundance in marshes flanking Willow Creek.

willow creek barn

An abandoned barn is the perfect hiking destination for a picnic.


My Swedish military backpack has plenty of room for picnic gear and spare clothes.