We parked right next to the river, but, even though it looked inviting, signs warned that the water levels were too high and the river was closed to fishing, tubing, and swimming.
We thought we would drive to Idaho Springs along the river to see if there was another point of entry that would be safer. But when we looked at a map, Kyle saw St. Mary's Glacier, pointed to it, and said that is where he wanted to go. So...we got back in the car and headed in that direction, not sure what we would find. Thanks to the internet and people who gave very detailed directions about where to park and how to find the (rocky) path to the lake, we made it!
St. Mary's Glacier is in the Arapaho National Forest at the end of a 3/4 mile, rocky, uphill walk. There were many people doing the same hike and those coming down assured us that the walk was worth it when you get to the lake.
They were correct, because we were greeted with a crystal clear lake with a snowy glacier in the distance. There were people walking and snowboarding on the glacier, others camped or enjoyed a picnic along the lake, and a few of the bravest dipped their toes (or jumped into) the freezing cold water.
Including Grace and Kyle!
I stayed as warm as possible on the shore.
We also got to see a helicopter land and people get out and head up the side of the mountain. We guessed they were "search and rescue" doing training.
This day was a perfect example of being flexible and taking the path less traveled.