At the east end of Garrison Dam, the earthen structure has a concrete portion called the spillway. Under normal circumstances, the water in Lake Sakakawea remains in the lake except for that which is piped through the base of the dam to the power plant to generate hydroelectricity. However, were the lake level to rise too high too quickly (i.e., more quickly than the power plant's pipes draw it out for their use), it could spill over the top of the dam . . . and water pouring over the top of an earthen dam would erode it and likely cause a disaster. The spillway contains 28 enormous gates that could be opened in the case of an emergency to release water from the lake and protect the integrity of the dam itself.
At the base of the spillway is a "pond"--actually, quite a large body of water--on the west bank of which is an area for boating, swimming, picnicking, and playing outdoor games such as horseshoes and volleyball. This Spillway Pond Day-Use Area is just a short drive away from the fish hatchery, so we went to check it out.
The girls and I stood on the dock and tried to skip rocks across the surface of the pond. We were not successful rock skippers.
Here's the view of the spillway from the dock in the pond. It's a good sign that the spillway is dry!
And here's a view of the pond looking south from the dock. At the far end (around the corner to the right) is a sandy beach that was full of swimmers of all ages.
At one of the playgrounds is this school bus. I was assigned to play the role of driver, but it didn't last long. Those naughty school kids would sometimes exit the school bus via the emergency door (a firefighter's pole at the rear of the structure) and insisted on kissing the bus driver whenever entering or exiting the bus . . . both of which are liable to get a bus driver fired! So I fired myself and went back to being Daddy.
Now it's time for our next destination . . .