Silver and Gold Part 1 – Ashuelot Headwaters

I was so impressed by this little gem of a place that I have to devote two posts to do it justice.  This is part 1: Silver.  That is, silver as in Silver Mountain.Even the parking lot has a wonderful view.It’s clear from the stone pillars that this was once an estate.  The SPNHF website has an interesting history of the property and it’s relationship to silver polish.The estate is gone now, although an interesting and well-preserved log cabin remains on the opposite side of the road.  I’d like to know more about that place sometime, but there’s nothing on the website.The SPNHF map shows two trails leaving the parking lot.  This blog concerns the short trail to the top of Silver Mountain.  Part 2 will be about the trail to the two ponds.This is truly a kid-friendly hike and gets top rating from me for its access and views.  The trail to the top is less than a mile and is well-marked and easy to follow – well-loved, but not too-well-loved.  As an added bonus you’ll pass two cellar holes on the way.I enjoyed the golden ferns at this time of year.  In a week or two they’ll all be gone.

Before you know it, you’ve reached the false top, beautiful enough in itself and with pretty good views towards the south.  I especially liked the blueberries, lichens, and tiny plants covering much of the bare rock in this area and could have stayed here for hours.

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Just a few steps more brings you to the summit.  From here there are amazing views in nearly every direction.  I was here twice on successive weekends.  The view were terrific both times but on the second, with clear skies, I could see peaks 40-50 miles away easily.  The glacier smoothed off the top of this mountain.  If you have any doubts, look at the grooves (glacial striations) in one of the pictures in the slideshow above, which run in exactly the opposite direction as the layers of the bedrock.  But that smoothing makes the top even more enjoyable, with lots of places for a picnic, a view, or just a place to sunbathe.

C H Lowell – July 4th 1881

People have been visiting this peak for well over a century, as this well-preserved carving attests.  There are plenty of carvings, both old and new, but few as well executed.Was this visitor from Gilsum NH dyslexic?  I wonder about the two 7’s and why only one is backwards.  Or was that intentional to match the two backwards N’s?There’s plenty of interest on this little hike.  I enjoyed the thick stripes of milky quartz at the summit.  The above photo is of a small pair of stripes nearby.

You can easily spend just an hour or two or the better part of the day, and in a hop, skip, and a jump you’re back down at the bottom.  If you’re ambitious, you might try the other trail, which is the subject of part 2 of this blog.  What’s doubly nice is that this small mountain isn’t crowded.  My wife suggested that I not reveal the location of this spot in order that it remain that way.  But this blog reveals that I, like most husbands, will do exactly as I please regardless.  So I’m revealing it to you but you may decide to keep this little secret to yourself.

Happy travels!

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7 responses to “Silver and Gold Part 1 – Ashuelot Headwaters

  1. I am one of the Land Stewards of this property and you barely saw 1/3 of it! Anxious for part II to see if you found your way on the other trail. We’d planned to have a workday to work on it, but Covid got in the way…

  2. Pingback: Silver and Gold Part 2 – Ashuelot Headwaters | The Park Explorer·

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