Every Tuesday and Thursday, check out Nature Notes for info on biking, hiking, fishing, backpacking and other outdoor adventures around Ohio.

A trip down the Mad River

River Running Abnormally dry weather had me holding any canoe/kayak writing until a coworker informed me that low water levels don't bother many people who rent one for an afternoon on the river.

Her explanation, of course, involved imbibing spirits and falling out of said watercraft - for which one foot is better than two. (Alcohol is illegal on state waters, though the law normally is enforced only in extreme conditions only - i.e., you being a jackass or injuring someone.)

True, you don't need whitewater to party in a canoe. Just a trickle will do.

Healthy crowds were laughing and splashing down both Big Darby Creek and the Mad River last weekend. I did a trip on each, and I'll have comparisons and all necessary info in this week's Venture column.

I'll also have another audio slide show up on Thursday.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, check out Nature Notes for info on biking, hiking, fishing, backpacking and other outdoor adventures around Ohio.

A trip down the Mad River

River Running Abnormally dry weather had me holding any canoe/kayak writing until a coworker informed me that low water levels donít bother many people who rent one for an afternoon on the river.

Her explanation, of course, involved imbibing spirits and falling out of said watercraft - for which one foot is better than two. (Alcohol is illegal on state waters, though the law normally is enforced only in extreme conditions only - i.e., you being a jackass or injuring someone.)

True, you don't need whitewater to party in a canoe. Just a trickle will do.

Healthy crowds were laughing and splashing down both Big Darby Creek and the Mad River last weekend. I did a trip on each, and I'll have comparisons and all necessary info in this week's Venture column.

I'll also have another audio slide show up on Thursday.

A guy brought his cat down Big Darby Creek

So, canoe or kayak?

I did one trip in each watercraft, and each offers benefits and drawbacks. My suggestion: Use the cooler rule.

- Kayaks rented at most liveries are one-man watercraft. They're steered by a double-sided paddle, fast and easier to control than a canoe. If it's just you and a buddy looking to cover longer distances, this is your best bet.

- For large groups and leisure - in short, any time you've got a cooler - rent a canoe. They are less tipsy, more spacious and allow you to sit up straight and converse with others around you.

And, if you've got a cat, try a kayak.