In-Town Tourist: “Canoeing Big Walnut Creek”

Upstream view on Big Walnut Creek

One of my favorite get-aways this summer is mere minutes from my house but miles removed from my daily life.

From the parking lot below the dam at Hoover Reservoir, it’s fifty yards portage to a hidden trail and then a moderate descent down to the waters of Big Walnut Creek. Once in the water, the only living beings I see beyond the canoe have either wings, gills or four legs. No voices… As the canoe slips down the river, my heart momentarily races before settling into the trickling rhythm of the current. The stillness of it all creeps in with slow assurance. I’m always surprised, first by its steady presence, and then by how very much I welcome it. Life can be so loud sometimes…

My “guide” is a steel artist from the Westerville area, who has traveled the route dozens of times over the paLeaf on Big Walnut Creekst fifteen years or so. He points out the tall sycamores where the blue herons nest, as well as a magnificent house (circa 1850) that has grown, addition by addition, from its early days as a trading post.

We’ve watched deer spring away into steep slate ravines at the splash of one of our paddles while the canvas-back ducks simply ignore our passage. On this day, domestic and wild geese make steady progress against the current as a red-tailed hawk glides overhead. Someday, I’ll spot one of the area’s eagles that nest in Hoover Reservoir’s treetops.

Canoeing on Big Walnut Creek 2Greened woodlands stretch away from us to either side and for a few minutes I can see the world this might have been hundreds of years ago. Random thoughts find space in these quiet moments; I wonder about following the creek down into the Scioto River, the Ohio, the Mississippi… until it eventually spills into the Atlantic. Which is another beginning in itself…

Columbus Couple Travel Tips

11 Comments to In-Town Tourist: “Canoeing Big Walnut Creek”

  1. Hi, Heather! I’ve been enjoying your latest few posts. And you DO live in paradise. I’m a limnologist and one of the places I learned the most about while getting my degree was Ohio, which has so many rivers that have been studied by aquatic ecologists like me. Cool, eh?

  2. piropos

    Wow, I had goosebumps reading this…this is indeed paradise.

  3. Thanks! Ohio has been a wonderful home; the more I travel, the more I’m able to appreciate its unique features. You have such an interesting profession!

  4. Todd

    Heather ,love your writing and you sure are lucky to be able to do such fun things,jeesh,, wish i was there!

  5. Favorite Cousin

    Heather, I love this! Why have you never taken me on this canoe trip when I’ve visited?

    Your favorite cousin

    (Alright, it’s Laura)

  6. I typically see a different side of Ohio. The corn and soy bean fields, the old school houses, a lot of farm equipment and livestock. And the smaller towns.

    The Heritage Trail bike path starts just across the street from me and if you exit just a short way down it you find yourself in an area that has very little auto traffic.

    It amazes me that, going one direction by car, I can be at Nationwide Arena in just a few minutes and that going the other direction, by bike, I can be out in the boondocks in just as short a period of time. (Well, maybe I’m not *amazed*, but it is pretty cool.)

  7. Hey Lady!

    Nice lookin’ template you got goin’ on there. Much improved from the first go-round. Nice and bright and uncluttered.

    So…I know I’ve walked along the banks of Big Walnut Creek before. Don’t know if I have ever canoed it before. I love the Mohican whenever I get up there, though.

    However, I graduated from Big Walnut High School in Sunbury…so I’m pretty sure I get extra credit for that! 😉


  8. Sorry Laura,
    I’ll try to be a better cousin! Afterall, you did lead me into the frigid waters off Cape Cod last September. I owe you!

  9. Delmer,
    We DO have some great bike trails around here (and within a short drive in about any direction). Have you tried the Kokosing Trail in Mt. Vernon yet?

  10. Like the way you’ve captured this image.

  11. I suppose you must write articles for some nature journals

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