Everyday Adventurer Richard Hartley – Enjoying the subtle delights of early season snowshoeing

The only sound was the crunch of our snowshoes breaking through the thin crust into the deep soft snow below. Across the gently rising forest track were the marks of passing fox and wild boar.  The trees were heavily laden with fresh snowfall. Winter was back!

We emerged from the forest into a big wide snow bowl and then plodded our way up a shallow gully that seemed to hold the best line. Above us a juvenile golden eagle gave us a brief cursory inspection.

Arrival at the ruined Refugio Cebollar signalled the frantic start of lunch, traditional “jamon” and “queso”, washed down with a glass of rioja (or two!). This is a fine spot. In front of us lies a mountain ridge culminating in Pico de Tajos de los Machos (3085m). There are fantastic snowshoeing and ski touring excursions hereabouts, but it’s a shame the refugio is in such a state of disrepair as it is in a fine location to spend the night.

We continued over the minor peak of Las Alegas with it’s stupendous views over the higher parts of the Sierra Nevada. Our return was made down a steep forest break, heel plunging and sliding down the slope, whooping with delight. Our dogs love this too. The siberian husky of course feels at home swimming through the knee deep snows and our giant leonberger looks like a bear patrolling her patch!

I always enjoy that first seasonal venture into the winter hills. The cold, frosty air. The silence. Sometimes living here in the Alpujarras you have to pinch yourself to remember that the busy beaches of Marbella and the Costa del Sol are just two hours away!

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