No matter how many trips I make to the Okefenokee, my excitement always builds exponentially as I near the refuge border. It is a twenty mile drive from Fargo, Georgia on the western edge of the Okefenokee until you reach the dead-end within the Stephen C Foster State Park campground. This long stretch of Highway 177 can seem quite boring if all you notice are the telephone-pole-straight pines that seem to go on endlessly to your right, left, forward and behind. The tendency can be to “gun it” and get to the swamp more quickly.
But if you slow down and take your time, you just might find some critters along this drive (and not splat them into roadkill as well). White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkey often emerge from the dense Saw Palmetto to forage on the roadside grasses. In January 2021, I spotted an American Black Bear crossing the road far ahead, but alas, no photograph. From spring to fall, Highway 177 is a great stretch for “herping”, as the snakes like to crawl out onto the warm pavement in the evenings and overnight