Stage of great geological interest, located in the district of Vinalopó Medio. Highlights are the Cabezo de la Sal, a peculiar mountain of reddish colours and rounded shapes, containing gypsum and salt which has been exploited commercially for centuries.
We begin this stage in the municipality of Pinoso, leaving the town along the Fátima road, a road surrounded by pine trees that runs in the direction of Cabezo de la Sal, which we will see in the distance.
Cabezo de la Sal is an outcrop of large saline deposits that emerged from internal layers of the earth's surface and forming a dome, conducive for the extraction of brine given its high salt level.
The rock saltis extracted, for dissolution, by injecting water to depths of 1.300 metres. The brine is transported to the saltworks in Torrevieja through a pipeline some 50 kilometres long.
Once we enter Cabezo we begin our ascent without any significant slopes or ledges, very gradual throughout.
During the ascent we see an arid landscape until we almost reach the summit, where the pines will be the only trees of any importance that we will find. The presence of salt on the surface makes it difficult for plants to absorb water and nutrients.
We continue our ascent up to the highest point on the route, 862 metres above sea level, where you will find the El Cabeçó, plant micro-reserve. This micro-reserve is located on waterlogged soil with build-ups of salt, which is why many species of gypsum shrubs and plants that are well known for being "lovers of gypsum" grow there, such as Teucrium libanitis or Limonium thiniense.
We start our descent along the same track on which we have come so far, and can enjoy views of the mountain ranges of the Reclot and Algayat, Sierra de Salinas and the Sierra de la Pila.
We pass beside the brine pipeline, until we reach a path next to the ravine of the Tres Fuentes, by which we will leave the hill to begin the next completely flat leg, towards the municipality of Algueña.
This section runs amid fields of almond trees, olive trees and vineyards, the typical landscape in this region. We skirt around the elevation of Monte Coto, taking us towards a marble quarry, which is the driving force behind the local economy.
With the quarries as a backdrop, contrasting with the adjacent green mountains, we will reach the municipality of Algueña.
A typically agricultural town where vines, olives and almond trees are grown. It belongs to the wine-growing area with designation of origin in the province of
Alicante, being included on the
Route of Alicante. The extensive wine production can be enjoyed staying at accommodation in the vineyards, visiting wineries and taking part in local wine tasting.
It also has a marble processing industry and on Sundays there is a wonderful flea market with a wide range of products.
We can highlight
gazpacho flat breads,
borreta (a stew made with potatoes, spinach and sweet green peppers), les
paella with rabbit and snails.
It also has a wide variety of tender dry sausage meats, as well as sweets and pastries (perusas, almond biscuits, sequillos, pastizos, toñas, homemade brandy rolls.)
We can take approved hiking routes such as route PR-CV-339, the Algayat Route and the Barranco del Aire route.
We can also discover the landscape of the area by taking the two cycling routes that the town offers, which are the La Solana route and the Las Ramblas route, both starting at the Plaza Juan Carlos I in the town.
Algueña is 534 metres above sea level, in the very heart of the marble. The contrast of the quarries with the surrounding green hills and vertical walls is a feature of the municipality.
In the southern part of the town the agricultural landscape survives with vineyards, almond trees, olive trees and desert soil. For this reason, Algueña is a place full of contrasts.
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