Elevation: 10,980 ft - 12,162 ft
Elevation Gain: 1,182 ft
Dogs: Off Leash
Critters: Bubbas in Jeeps
The trail to Wheeler Lake near Breckenridge, not to be confused with Wheeler Lakes (plural) near Copper Mountain, is a narley trail that travels up a gulch at the base of Mt. Lincoln (14,286 ft) (north side). It is narley because it is also a jeep trail and is mostly loose rock. It is also narley because much of the road contains deep ponds that never seem to dry out. The hiker can either slog through these ponds or bushwhack through the willows on the side of the road. So many people have chosen the bushwhack option, that social trails have developed through the shrubbery. Many of these short trails are easy to follow, others require true shrub stomping skills. Save the skin on your legs and wear pants.
Near the turn off to the lake (to the right). It looks like a short walk to the base of Mt. Democrat and then a simple scramble up to the saddle. I suspect it is much harder or there were have been 2,000 people on the trail.
I snidely described the body composition of many of the 4x4ers I observed on a recent hike to the General Teller Mine. Well, the characters I observed upon approaching the jeeps on this trip put those other specimens to shame. They were as large as the boulders surrounding the lake. One jeep had three such individuals. I am surprised they could all fit in the vehicle. We Coloradans have lived in blissful bubble of ignorance, totally unbelieving in the obesity crisis gripping the nation. Not so any longer. Not only am I seeing grossly obese individuals on the trails, but I am also seeing them in the urban areas. Whether these individuals are tourists or college students I can not say, but like sightings of Sasquatch, I am starting to believe.
To the right of the lake is a series of small ponds. Add in rocks and clouds, and you get a view that was more appealing than the lake itself.