I know I blog about Angel Falls Overlook in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area quite often. It’s a year-round favorite of mine. Part of the allure, for sure, is that the trailhead is five minutes from my house — making it a quick and convenient trip. But there’s just something magnificent about the panoramic view of the Big South Fork River from the vantage point high above Angel Falls.
It’s hard to find much solitude at Angel Falls Overlook these days. Even leaving the trailhead at 7 p.m. yesterday and hiking up for a sunset view from the top, I shared the overlook with a hiker who said she was camped nearby. It’s the single-most photographed site in BSF Country and one of the best vantage points between the Smoky Mountains and the Ozarks.
On the way out, as dusk was falling across the BSF River Gorge, a wood thrush began following me in the canopy, singing his tune. Male wood thrushes defend their nests by singing, and they aren’t accustomed to strangers slipping through the woods after sunset. Or maybe he thought I was another bird — an ostrich, maybe.
I’ve never been an avid birdwatcher, by any means, but wood thrushes have one of the most melodic songs of any of the North American songbirds. It is what caused Henry David Thoreau to write:
“Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; wherever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of Heaven are not shut against him.”