Back on the Byway, head south 5 miles to the community of Smith Creek. An old one-room school house is located next to the Volunteer Fire Department. At Jack Langston’s Fish Camp and Boat Ramp, just to the right off the Byway, you can still see some original fish camp cabins by the river. Spring and fall are particularly beautiful seasons along this portion of the Byway. The roadsides are filled with wildflowers and beautiful butterflies. As you travel through the Apalachicola National Forest you also may notice white bands painted around large longleaf pine trees. These trees are marked to indicate Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) nests (see page 56). Another “keystone species,” the Gopher Tortoise, inhabits pine flatwoods along the Byway. Both of these species depend on prescribed fire to reduce underbrush, protect against wildfire, and keep the flatwoods open for Wiregrass and other indigenous plant species.
About one mile from Smith Creek, FR 13 crosses the Byway. Turn right (west) for a sweeping view of the Ochlockonee River and the floodplain swamp dominated by Tupelo gum trees.
Side Trip: Two Rivers Bridge, Ochlockonee River.
Stop in a safe area at the bridge and walk its length to get a full view of the river and the adjacent forest. If you are here in April and May you will notice the flowering Tupelo trees abuzz with bees. The Ochlockonee River Bridge also serves as the route for the Florida Scenic Trail, with a trailhead at Porter Lake, the ANF facility on the western end of the bridge. The bridge is also an excellent area for birdwatching since you are at eye level with the treetops!
Return to the Byway. The next ANF facility you will come to is Mack Landing, which is 6 miles farther down CR 375 from FR 13. Turn right onto the graded dirt road (FR 336) for 1 mile to reach the river. Mack Landing is a fee area with camping, boat launch, picnic tables, restrooms, and fishing. As you continue southward the Apalachicola National Forest gives way to gently rolling fields and farms.