Nature Watch: Ft. Yargo State Park

Today is Friday, and we all needed a break, so we decided to take a little hike at our nearby state park, Ft. Yargo. It’s only about 15 minutes from our house, and every time we go, we say, “We should come here more often.” But we don’t go nearly enough.

Ft. Yargo State Park is about 1,800 acres, and it has a 260 acre lake. It’s quite a treasure. In the past we’ve explored different areas of the park, but today we took our favorite trail. My photos aren’t the best because I just had my phone camera with me, but I still wanted to share what we found with you.

We expected there might be a lot of debris on the trail left over from Tropical Storm Irma, which just passed through here on Monday. We were right. Above you can see some trees that fell, but someone already cleared them from the trail. Everywhere there were small branches and green leaves. It was a little hard to walk in some places. 

But we considered it an adventure, and we made a lot of nature discoveries along the trail, including these beautiful flower/berry things. I need to figure out what they are!

Our best encounter was with this handsome Eastern Kingsnake, which we rarely see. Its head was hidden under the fallen debris. They are not as common, but they are great snakes to have around. They eat rats, mice and venomous snakes! I think they are quite pretty with the yellow rings around their body too.

Spiders were everywhere! My husband walked in front swinging a stick because numerous spider webs crossed the trail. It’s not a great photo, but this yellow and orange spider was the prettiest we found. I need to identify it too.

Many flowers are blooming right now. It’s a great time to watch for butterflies, and we saw a few fritillaries.

This hornet’s nest was a cool find, but we didn’t want to stick around long to watch it. (And I wasn’t standing this close. I used my zoom.)

We are always happy to encounter frogs, so this little fowler’s toad was a welcome sight too.

We all had a great time, except for the eight-year-old who complained about being tired and bored, except when we saw the snake. (You can’t have it all, can you?) He’s not the nature boy that his older brother is, but we’re not giving up on him yet. He did enjoy it a little bit, and he liked going out to eat afterward and not doing his lessons today. Although, I consider time spent in nature one of the best lessons of all. 😉

What has your Friday been like?

2 thoughts on “Nature Watch: Ft. Yargo State Park

    1. Hi Lauren — I’d be happy to tell you, although it’s a bit complicated to explain. The trail we take doesn’t have a particular name. We’re actually using different trails, and I think we partly walked on what is supposed to be a bike path. It’s all on the west side of the park/lake.

      Here is the map: http://www.yargotrailcrew.com/uploads/8/6/6/3/86631746/fort_yargo_trail_map.pdf

      We drive into the main entrance and go straight. You’ll pass the old fort on the left. Then we turn right onto a road that is named “Picnic Area 2.” Go to the parking area at the end of this short road. We like parking here, and it’s a very pretty place to hang out too. But we usually walk west on a trail, which you’ll see begins at the west side of the parking area. This takes us along the lake until you come to another parking area and small boat ramp. Just beyond this is a bridge. Cross this bridge, and the trail forks. We go to the right. This trail is our favorite. So pretty. When it ends, you come to a kind of utility road, I think, which I don’t see on the map. You could turn around and go back the way you came. However, we usually go right and walk along the road/path until we enter the woods again. Now you’re on a bike path, which is marked in blue on the map. This may be only for bikers, but we go during the week, and we rarely see anyone else on it. Part of this trail is very close to Highway 81, and you can hear the traffic. My favorite parts are where it goes along the lake. On the map, you can see you’ll cross a steel bridge. Also, you go through “Deadwood Hill,” which is marked on the map. But eventually you’ll come out right where that boat ramp and bigger bridge are — you made a big loop. From the boat ramp area, we head back toward our parking area.

      I hope this helps. The lake loop trail is very pretty too, but it’s very long, and we’re not always prepared for such a journey. Let me know, if you try this trail! Right now the bike path is full of branches from the tropical storm. You might want to wait a while before you try it.

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