Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bonas Defeat Again

Accessing Bonas Defeat from the upstream side can be difficult. The easiest way in is on private property that has very clear warnings to anyone who might be tempted to go that way. There is a social trail that leads into the gorge from Panthertown but you have to know the trail and it adds substantial mileage. Or there is a lake you can cross that takes you right there. For this year's trip we opted for the lake option and decided to boat in and camp the night before so we could get an early start for an out and back trip through Bonas Defeat.  Camping Friday night was nothing short of amazing. The moon and stars and lake were all just too much to handle and made me very appreciative of how lucky I am to live the life I do.

Saturday morning and six of us were up early and after a very short paddle started hiking down Bonas Defeat. I was surprised that after four trips through the gorge it still seemed different and was still a mind blowing landscape. It is a very unforgiving place with high consequences and two in our group turned around after a short way down the gorge and opted to explore Dismal Falls in the Big Pisgah tract instead. The rest of us made our way down the gorge and then back up again. This trip was highlighted by lots of stemming and several very tight hole squeezes and then of course the big boulder problem. It took us hours to go the two miles down to the confluence and as we were making our way back up storm clouds appeared in front of us and we did our best to hustle as Bonas Defeat is not the best place to be in a storm. But the trail isn't like other trails and hustle is a relative word but the return trip was much faster but not fast enough to beat the storm. We made it through the worst of it before the heavens opened and the brief storm did little more than cool us off.

After almost six hours of very challenging boulder hopping, stemming, squeezing, climbing, swimming and crawling it was a relief to see our boats still waiting for us on the shore. The mile long paddle back to the put in provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on another excellent adventure.

















  1. We use to hike Bonas Defeat, or as we referred to it, Tuckasegee Gorge, often in the early 1980's. Each fall the N.C. Nature Conservancy use to lead a group hike up the gorge. It is a unique and beautiful area.

  2. looks like david m in those pics. I really want to do this hike sometime.

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