Gold and water in the Cabeçó d’Or mountain

Gold and water in the Cabeçó d’Or mountain
Cabezón del Agua (Mountain of Water) would have been, perhaps, the name most faithful to the etymological origins of this surprising mountain, which is divided between the municipalities of Busot, Xixona and Relleu (Alicante).

However, without the current denomination, the Cabeçó d’Or (Golden Mountain) would lack the magical legends and stories derived from the misinterpreted Iberian word ur (water), which had to be maintained in times of Islamic domination and, later, it would be confused with the Valencian word or (gold). Without going any further, it is believed that this simple phonetic confusion caused great losses of time and money to a wealthy Marquis who, unsuccessfully, employed his workers in the search for a supposed treasure, in an abyss that later would receive his name, that is, l’Avenc del Marqués (or Marqués’ abyss).

Western slope of the Cabeçó d’Or, seen from the Racó de Seva.

This rewarding mountain, in addition to legends, offers several paths that allow you to get to know interesting corners and small forests of, overall, Aleppo pine, where you can also see the attractive strawberry tree, which in the middle of autumn invites you to taste its small and soft red fruits. These, sweet and of certain acidity, contain small amounts of alcohol, because they begin to ferment in the tree. That is why its scientific name in Latin, Arbutus unedo, advises “eating only one” (unum: one; edo: eat), because its excessive consumption can produce drunkenness and headaches. This and many other shrubs, punctually accompanied by small areas populated by moss, grow alongside the large vertical walls of the Cabeçó d’Or, where there are about 200 climbing routes, not being this the only sport practice, with ropes, which can be performed in this magical mountain, since it has different caves suitable for speleology, such as del Marués, de la Campana, or the caves de la Granota (frog) and Canelobre (chandelier). The last has one of the highest natural vaults in Spain, about seventy meters high, and during the Spanish Civil War was used, by the Republican side, as a factory for aircraft engines and as a powder keg. It is enabled, partially, for visits by the general public and, due to its characteristics, in its interior there are scheduled different concerts periodically.

Upper area of Cabeçó d’Or.

Also, the caves of Canelobre are the scene of some legends related to this mountain range, such as the one related by Joaquim González i Caturla in his book, Rondalles de l’Alacantí, which tells something like this:

It was in this cave where the Moor Ali, who lived in Busot with his daughter Gesamina, decided to hide his most precious belongings, upon learning that the Christians had risen up in arms. He thought that the best thing would be to leave his lands, so as not to die at the hands of these, and he told his daughter that, that afternoon, he would hide a chest full of gold and jewels near the entrance to the caves of Canelobre, buried next to a stone that lit up with the last rays of sun. Despite the plan of the Mohammedan, Ali never returned home alive, because Christians killed him that same day, before reaching the village, after refusing to reveal the whereabouts of his belongings. Desperate for her father’s delay, Gesamina went out in search of him and, when she was crying such a loss along with the inert body of Ali, the murderers appeared and, without saying a word, ran after her until the young woman managed to take refuge in the caves of Canelobre. In the darkness of the cave, the Christians shouted to Gesamina, blindly, so she would indicate them the place where the treasure was burried, but the young Moor woman cursed anyone who tried to find it. They never saw her again, because they say that she fled down a hidden passage, which she knew, until emerging into the sea by the cave of Llop Marí, in the nearby town of El Campello. But the story does not end here, since, centuries later, this story came to the ears of the humble uncle Roc, a farmer who lost everything in Busot, tried his luck in Barcelona and returned to the Cabeçó d’Or, where he was finally made suspiciously rich. It did not take long until, one day of hunting, he died accidentally reached by one of his companions. The curse of the young Gesamina had been fulfilled.

Rocky slope next to the Marqués’ abyss and Cabeçó d’Or summit.

Legends aside, a visit to this mountain is the best way to enjoy it. The marks of the route signposted as PR-CV 2 lead us, from very close to the Canelobre caves, to the top of Cabeçó d’Or, located at 1209 meters of altitude. The complete route, the round trip, does not exceed 10 km, although it requires some physical preparation to overcome the 730 meters of unevennes, as well as the terrain and the small gills that we find at the points of the route. After a first stretch of forest track we arrive, from the Pla de la Gralla (where we parked next to the road), to the Racó de Seva and, from there, we gain height quickly meandering along a path that leads us to the Casa del Polzet. From here, we continue ascending to the Marqués’ abyss and, finally, we reach the summit, where it is worth the recreation with the views of the surroundings, among which the Puig Campana (1408 masl) stands out, whose panorama is in the main image of this article, with the rock of Ifac in the background and on the right.