March seems appropriate for the first hike of the season despite this year’s winter maintaining a firm hold and many still heading regularly to the ski hills. Spion Kop is most often a perfect season opener, being at low altitudes with easy access.
For full details on Spion Kop go here:
For today’s excursion I wanted to try the Raven Ridge trailhead which is the western-most access to the trail network. 10 minutes from the car and it was full on winter. Fortunately, many had recently come before and all the trails were hard packed snow.
Before today I had also not ventured the full way to the north overlook – this was mostly disappointing with private land truncating the trail’s full potential. With the summit a necessary stop on every visit, this resulted in a 11.3km hike / mountain run taking 2 1/4 hours. This includes of course getting lost trying to do the blue loop and returning on the red back to the Raven Ridge trailhead. At any other time of year this would be easy but in early March 2018 this meant bushwhacking through waist deep snow.