Always seeking out a fun physical outdoor adventure, I decided to do some research on canoeing in Central Ohio. I ended up finding Trapper John's Canoe Livery located just 20 minutes south of Columbus in Grove City. The trip took place on the Big Darby Creek and prices were very reasonable, ranging from $14-$25. My friends and I opted for the $25 trip, which is the "All-Day" 12-Mile long trip. We came to find that this was a very ambitious trip, but we all have very ambitious personalities, so it would all work out!
Being that we booked the longest trip available, we had to arrive bright and early (10 AM departure) and pack a ton of sunscreen. We also decided to pack a nice six pack of beer so that we could go "ca-brewing." The trip allowed for alcohol only on the "lower river" as the "upper river" was part of a nature reserve, and therefore, no booze allowed. This was fine, as we needed to stay hydrated during this very intense endeavor.
We had absolutely no canoeing instructions from the folks at Trapper John's Canoe Livery. The warning sign at the livery even indicated "YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!" This would be my only complaint about the trip and the livery itself, but I can understand that lessons were not given, since the prices are so cheap. My advice would be to read up on canoeing techniques before signing up for a trip like this.
Canoeing is a very strenuous activity which requires a lot of upper body strength as well as coordination and communication with your canoeing partner. It was essential for my canoeing partner and I to synchronize our strokes in order to stay straight or turn when desired. The river was rather calm, aside from a few minor currents on some sharp bends.
My canoeing partner and I learned a few lessons the hard way when our canoe got caught in a few currents and flipped over. The unexpected tousling taught us to never underestimate the power of Mother Nature and to only bring essential items on the trip, as you can lose things and damage valuables if the canoe tips!
Despite tipping over, my friends and I really enjoyed canoeing with rentals from Trapper John’s. The weather during our weekend trip was fantastic. There was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the upper 70s and lower 80s. This allowed us to take amazing pictures and soak in the rich river scenery. We found that having just two canoes of two people each was a perfect number, as a group any larger may be more difficult to stay with.
Overall, canoeing on the Big Darby Creek through Trapper John’s Canoe Livery was a fantastic and memorable experience. The downstream experience provided quite a few thrills. You can find a number of other great places to canoe by checking out Discover Ohio’s comprehensive list of spots, or by visiting my blog, OHventures.