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Catalonia, Spain

We were high above the Catalan town of Berga in the foothills of the Pyrenees, about 65 miles north of Barcelona. The road we were on, known as the Path of the Good Men, is part of a 120-mile trail carved out of the mountains eight centuries ago by the Cathars as they escaped persecution in southern France. Hikers can travel all or part of the path from Montségur, France, to Berga. But we were here because of mushrooms, mushrooms that glistened in the sunlight along the trail. We wanted to participate in the twin autumn rituals of this region: mushroom picking and mushroom eating. Berga and environs are the mushroom mother lode: thousands of square miles of mountain slopes with just the right climate for the fungus, all accessible by a network of hiking trails and dirt roads. Hunters generally limit themselves to about 30 varieties, although there are said to be more than 5,000 types here. -- Craig Ligibel
Craig Ligibel / Craig Ligibel
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