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>> Picknicing

Stores & Park Picnic Areas

Oliver’s Market
560 Montecito Center, Santa Rosa
(707) 537-7123

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma County / $6 parking fee
2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood
(707) 833-5712 www.parks.sonoma.net/sugarlf.html

Jimtown Store
6706 Highway 128, Healdsburg
(707) 433-1212

Mt. St. Helena hike at Robert Louis Stevenson Park / No parking fee
7 miles north of Calistoga on Highway 29 (707) 942-4575

Nonna’s Eastside Market
1190 East Napa Street, Sonoma
(707) 933-3000

Bartholomew Park, behind Bartholomew Park Winery / No parking fee
1000 Vineyard Lane, Sonoma

The wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties teems with gentle slopes and soaring views. For every hike, there's a terrific shop chock-full of delicacies and wines to make your picnic perfect. Check out these other parks and picnic supply sources:

Skyline Wilderness Park, has dozens of miles of trails and suitable hiking for all levels / $5 parking fee.
2201 Imola Avenue, Napa
(707) 252-0481 www.ncfaa.com/skyline/skyline_park.htm

Stock up on supplies at Vallergas Market in Napa. Located in the Riverpark Shopping Center on Imola at Jefferson (707) 253-7846

For hearty hikers, the Oat Hill MineTrail to the Palisades Trail climbs 2000 feet towards terrific views. The trail head is on the northeast corner of the junction of Highway 29 and Silverado Trail in Calistoga. Park there or across the street (don't block anyone's home, though) / No parking fee. (707) 942-4575

Purchase scrumptious picnic packings at Palisades Market in Calistoga.
1506 Lincoln Avenue
(707) 942-9549

Jack London State Park is home to many trails and a lovely lake built by the author himself. Easily hikeable and complete with picnic tables / $6 parking fee.
2400 London Ranch Road in Glen Ellen
(707) 938-5216 www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=478

Visit the Glen Ellen Village Market to stock up on cheese, meats, fruits, crackers, wine and everything else you'll need for your picnic, except the backpack.
13710 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen
(707) 996-6728

Good picnics gone bad

There are a number of good reasons to shirk the amenities of modern conveniences, but none better than partaking of the bounty of the earth while surrounded by the beauty of the out-of-doors. Once however, we leave behind the safety of shelter, refrigeration, and running water a modicum of good sense is necessary. In other words, if you plan on taking your victuals on the road, it is best to practice the boy scout motto: be prepared.

Food Safety:
Because of the warm weather, and how much time we like to spend outside, food spoilage is a real threat on hikes and during picnics. Here are a few good rules, to help reduce the possibility of ptomaine poisoning:

• Two hours
It’s a tight timeframe, but perishables are only supposed to be left at room temperature for two hours, one hour if the temperature is above 90. The “danger zone” for harmful bacteria to multiply is temperatures between 40 and 140ºF, so if no ice source is available move quickly.

• Safe Foods
Cut your fruits and vegetables at the picnic site to reduce the opportunities of contamination. Be careful of meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, though dried meats and many cheeses can travel well. Freeze juice boxes to help keep things cool.

• Be Clean
Follow the old rule of washing your hands before you prepare and eat food, and don’t cross-contaminate—wash your cutting boards and utensils (or use separate) for the foods that will be cooked (meats, etc) and those that are not (breads, etc). Take a package of hand wipes along, you can use them for cuts and abrasions, as well as clean up before and after eating.

Beat it, bugs:
The perennial pest of the picnic is clearly the ant, but yellow-jackets sometimes provide more than annoyance and come with a sting.

• Ants
Ants have great smell and can tell lots of their friends quickly that you have brought food. Clean up your spills and move if you see an ant –that is, if they bother you. Ants are fastidious at cleanliness and do not carry disease.

• Picnic Beetles
Gross! They eat decaying matter. Move at least 50 feet away from the garbage cans and you should be fine. They do have wings, so you might find them on the berries. Just rinse before eating if possible, otherwise pick them off.

• Yellow Jackets
These guys mean business. You can bring a trap, or avoid the high-sugar foods, meat and produce – oh that’s everything. Your best bet is to keep food covered and watch any can beverages for uninvited intruders.

Watch your footing, and your fluid balance:
Though probably safer than your afternoon commute, the out-of-doors presents different health challenges. Clearly, there are scrapes and sprains, insect bites, the occasional snake bite, and bad food to be wary of, but heat is also an insidious threat.

• Drink Lots
The old saying is: I don’t drink any more. Of course, I don’t drink any less either. Actually, you need to stay away from an excessive amount of alcohol, caffeinated and high-sugar drinks (probably in general) but certainly while hiking. A good rule of thumb is three to four quarts of water a day for the average person during hot weather backpacking; two to three during fall and spring backpacking.

Dehydration is easier to prevent than treat.

• Heat Illnesses
Heat Illnesses can become life threatening emergencies. An elevated body temperature that is due to the body’s inability to dissipate heat and/or because of decreased fluid levels can move from a mild problem to a severe problem very quickly. It is appropriate to learn the symptoms of heat illnesses and aggressively treat them.

From ordinary to extraordinary:
Whether you are getting together with your friends, family, and loved ones on the trails of the wine country hills or on the path of life, these events are the things memories are made of: A wonderful sunset, the smells of the coastal hills, the satisfaction of the food after physical effort. Don’t forget to take your pocket knife, your corkscrew, and a good attitude; and if you really are a boy scout practice the scout slogan: do a good turn daily. Cheers.


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