Yesterday with perfect sunny skies, a group of volunteers spent a gorgeous day at Northwest Branch helping out with the 2012 Adopt-A-Crag, planned once again by Paul Barringer with the support of the Mid-Atlantic Climbers.
After fueling up on donuts and pastries in the parking lot, the group split out to work on a variety of tasks. I, along with my mom, chose to start off with trash removal, and walked down to the 495 overpass to deal with the debris that had recently washed down due to Hurricane Sandy. While we saw less intentionally discarded trash than usual, several of the low lying branches had been wrapped in plastic bags by the flood waters. After spending a good hour freeing them and picking our way among the rocks in search of other debris, we went back up to help the others who were searching through the rocks and wood piles closer to the parking lot.
Meanwhile Emily joined a group of volunteers on the hill near the parking lot assisting in invasive species removal, led by a liaison from the Montgomery Parks. Their targets for the day were the masses of porcelain berry and multiflora rose that had been choking the hillside, and just a couple hours work left the area looking phenomenally cleaner.
Others went up the hill to improve a section of trail, including installing water bars to divert runoff and minimize erosion.
Around noon the group brought it all in for some celebrations and, more importantly, a outstanding gear raffle that included a few sweet items like backpacks, puffy jackets, and packs of slings. With that, the MAC's fall Adopt-A-Crag lineup was at an end, but several of the group stayed around afterward for some bouldering as afternoon temps climbed into the 60s and the rocks reached that perfect balance of warmth and friction.
Thanks to everyone who organized yesterday's efforts, and especially to all the other volunteers who gave their time to help keep one of my favorite playgrounds clean!