Photo of the week – October week #1: Porcupine Ravine

The chain of seaboard peaks and buttresses extending behind the iconic tabletop summit of Table Mountain, known as the 12 Apostles, offers many delightful routes up the mountain. The first Apostle (closest to the “Table” and the upper cable station) is called Porcupine Buttress. Its summit bears a different name, Blinkwater Peak, and as the highest point on the 12 Apostles, offers panoramic views.

Porcupine Ravine runs up adjacent to its namesake buttress, involving light scrambling and minimal exposure to heights, but rugged terrain in the form of loose rock and some bushy sections of trail. Several viewpoints along the way into the Blinkwater system of ravines and across to the “Table”, in addition to grand views back down the ravine and out across the Atlantic coast, makes for a enjoyable ascent. But the route’s charms does not end there: the upper sections and approach to Blinkwater Peak are rarely done, so offers much peace, solitude and pristine nature – Table Mountain hiking at its best.

Further enhancing the route are uniquely sculpted rocks along the upper sections and lining Arc Valley – a boggy, elongated depression where civilization seems a thousand miles away. An obscure trail leads of the southwestern side of Blinkwater Peak, past beautiful rock-formations and across an expansive terrace where the solitude is palpable. No other Table Mountain hikes traverses the area, so peace and quiet can be enjoyed in abundance. If you’re a nature lover looking to hike Table Mountain off the beaten track with minimal exposure to heights and technical scrambling, then Porcupine Ravine to Blinkwater Peak is a must.

The essence of hiking Table Mountain can be found on this route: diverse indigenous shrub punctuated with sculpted sandstone outcrops, deafening silence broken only by the chirping of moss frogs, majestic views and topping out on a beautiful peak.