Based on fellow rider Ben’s beta, we knew Indiana Pass was closed to cars. But based on Ben’s email, and a call to the Forest Service, we learned that we should be able to slip through on our bikes. Armed with this info we departed from Del Norte on our longest and highest climb of the trip, over the 11,910 foot Indiana Pass. As we pedaled hard up the massive climb, we began to receive warnings from motorists that we would not be able to enter the construction site. We were rewarded for our effort with a stunning descent into the Summitville Superfund Site. One has to give Adventure Cycling credit for managing to plan the route through as many superfund sites as possible.
We reached the construction site and found the road blocked by boulders and a crane. Immediately, we were confronted by a worker and reprimanded for not heeding the signs which prohibited entry. Despite the stern warning, we were let through as there was little other option at that point. On our way through, we were confronted again by a supervisor. Still, we were allowed to pass through. We saw no sign of the rumored gold.
We then climbed out of the valley and the abandoned town of Summitville. Our descent into Platoro afforded us views of Lookout Mountain, Little and Big Red Mountain, and the distinctly un-crystal clear Iron Creek. Platoro is a view of a future in which Lincoln Logs are all that remain. We stayed in the Conejos Cabins, run by a too-nice couple, who gave us all of their personal toiletries, coffee, and cinnamon rolls. The area will soon be famous worldwide, as their MCS-suffering son wrote a recent novel set there.