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Randonee Cabanes de Mataporc

March 24, 2020

The Cabanes de Mataporc are in the Alberes mountains above Laroque des Alberes. These are ancient dry stone huts that sheltered shepherds while their animals grazed up on the mountain. There are expansive views to the Roussillon plain and Mediterranean from the site. About 4 miles, 1000 ft elevation gain, 3 hours round trip. The trail is well marked.

The trail starts at the end of the street opposite the church in Laroque, starting point of all trails in the village. Climb till you reach an intersection with a small reservoir. Consult the big trail map, then turn left. The trail follows a dirt road and climbs up through cork forest with evidence of recent harvesting. A cork tree can be harvested about every 9 years. You can see the year number painted on the tree.

This area is criss crossed by springs bursting out of the Alberes: a basin full of water under a tree with a stone opening, big dirt basins framed with stone are dry now, and a “point d’eau” with large water tank probably for fires that is continuously fed from a little waterfall.

Where the trail leaves the road it climbs steeply up the mountain. More cork trees and evidence of sanglier (boar) rooting around near the trail and perhaps bedding down. No wonder, there are lot of acorns on the ground for them to eat.

The trail to the first cabanes is marked to right and is higher up the mountain. There are two stone huts built on a steep site. They are low to the ground, not high enough to stand inside, with evidence of an open hearth.

The other cabanes are just a few minutes further along the main trail marked to the left on a trail down the mountain. This site is more developed with one enclosed shelter and another with two rooms that lack a roof. There is a corral of sorts with stone walls for animals. This site is not entirely out of service, as I saw evidence of cows with their ubiquitous pies. A beautiful spot for a picnic perched on the rock shelf with open vistas.

An interesting piece of Catalan history.