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Information of interest
ROUTE: 3 La Cunarda Mycological Route
START-FINISH: Colungo- Pinar de Asque or San Caprasio
LOCATION (COMARCA): Somontano de Barbastro, Sobrarbe
SUITABLE TIME AND/OR CONDITIONS: All year, no snow
DIFFICULTY ACCORDING TO THE 5-POINT MIDE SCALE (SYSTEM DEVISED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ARAGON TO MEASURE DIFFICULTY) M (level of risk) = 3; I (signposting) = 2; D (difficulty) = 2; E (duration of effort) = 4;3
LENGTH: 19.3 km or 12.1 km
POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE ALTITUDE CHANGE: :+800 m;-620 m and +/- 550m
Mountain bike: Yes (85% can be covered by bike; Technical Difficulty (TD) = Very Difficult; Physical Difficulty (PD) = Very High)
COMBINATION WITH CARS RECOMMENDED: Yes
2- Trail/crossings/Arruello Ravine
3- Portal de la Cunarda
4- La Cunarda (pine forest)
5- Return to Colunga
6- Campo Royo
7- Abrigos de Muriecho caves
8 - Pine forest
1- At the entrance to the village of Colungo, there is a place to park right by the roadside. We will leave this spot by means of a trail that becomes a path after descending a short distance (signposted).
2- We continue along this path until we come to the road. All we have to do is cross this road and then continue along a wide track until we come across a path on our left that slopes gently downwards. (signposted).
3- This is an easy path to follow and so we will stay on it for a while until we reach some information boards, (remember this spot). Here we turn to the left in the direction of the Portal de la Cunarda rock formation. Follow this trail to the end. The rock formation is to the right.
4- We return to the information boards and take the path leading up on the left to a trail through the forest Here we have 2 options: the first is to head for Colungo to the right; the second is to go left to La Cunarda.
5- If we go for the first option, we continue down along the path until we reach Colungo.
6- Those choosing the second option should continue along the main trail in the direction of Bárcabo, until they reach a hill with a firebreak emerging from the left-hand side. An information board and a crossing gate will confirm that we are in the right place. Throughout the length of this section, the pine trees on either side of the trail are of enormous interest where mycology is concerned.
7- We will descend along the firebreak right to the end, going round the road that leads off to the right about halfway down. When we come to the end of the firebreak, we take a road on the right and climb up until we reach a sharp bend. A milestone will indicate the path to take to the Abrigos de Muriecho caves.
8- Once we have seen them, we shall return to the path and continue on until we come to a junction where the path slopes down on our right. We walk down this path until we come to the road, where our second vehicle is waiting for us.
History and culture
Although remote and off the beaten track, the area covered by this route was one of the most widely travelled between the districts of Sobrarbe and Somontano. Colungo, which is our starting point, is noteworthy for its Interpretation Centre for rock paintings, its magnificent brandies and the 16th-century late Gothic church devoted to Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar).
The route begins in the olive groves and almond orchards, which then give way to holm and gall oaks, junipers and the occasional wild strawberry bush. The most characteristic feature towards the end of the route will be the extensive areas that have been replanted with pine trees.
The route is important geologically speaking, since it marks the barrier separating limestone areas from conglomerates. Different erosive agents have fashioned unimaginable shapes out of the rocks, beautiful ravines and landscapes that stand out as one of a kind.
A clear example of this is the Portal de la Cunarda rock formation..
Since prehistoric times, man has known how to harness the resources available in this region. The caves or Abrigos de Muriecho with their stunning Levantine rock paintings, the quarry in the Arruellos Ravine, from which huge stones were obtained and used as grindstones for the oil presses, the slender boxwood that provided the wood to make spoons and other utensils, the honey made from rosemary and thyme, which are found in abundance in this land, or the pigeons nestling into the vertical cliffs in the narrow gorges to breed, turned them into huge natural pigeon lofts, which provided food for years in times of shortage.
Replanted in the 1950s, these pine forests soon became famous for the mushrooms that sprung up all over the area. It is important to choose the time right and get up really early if we want to obtain a good harvest, as there are a great many aficionados that have heard of their benefits. Among the most prolific, we can mention the saffron milk cap (Lactarius Deliciosus), yellow foot (Cantharellus Lutescens), grey knight or dirty tricholoma (Tricholoma Terreum), along with the more scarce and much sought after, the porcini and porcini nero mushrooms (Boletus edulis and Boletus aereus) and Caesar’s mushroom (Amanita caesarea).
NB. The species mentioned here are not classified into edible and non-edible mushrooms. The species are merely listed.
The Sierra de Guara Natural Park has specific regulations in force regarding the picking of mushrooms.