The gorilla in our midst? Thanks to state work, the granite 'Gassetts Gorilla' is born

By Cynthia Prairie
©2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Old Man in the Mountain just a few days before his collapse. He had no idea what was ahead for him. <small> Image from Wikipedia.

The Old Man in the Mountain just a few days before his collapse. He had no idea what was ahead for him. Image from Wikipedia.

New Hampshire lost its iconic Old Man in the Mountain to gravity in 2003, but four years ago, Vermont apparently gained the Gassetts Gorilla.

The Gassetts Gorilla is more accessible than the Old Man was. The Old Man towered above us, looked away from us and seemed pleased with his lot in life. The Gassetts Gorilla on the other hand is well-grounded. And his pursed lips and strong brow give a sense that he is a bit of a skeptic, maybe much like ourselves.

The granite profile, which can only be viewed on Route 103 heading south from Ludlow, was spotted several years ago after the state finished cleaning up the huge rock outcropping on Route 103 just north of Route 10 to prevent it from further falling into the roadway. (Editor’s note: According to our very own Stacia Spaulding, who holds a Ph.D. in Geology, the profile is not granite, but garnet-mica schist. We stand corrected!)

The Gassetts Gorilla reigns over Route 103. Photo by Phillisa Prescott.

They cleared away trees and roots that were undermining the rock face and set giant bolts to secure it.

And then voila! The Gassetts Gorilla was born.

Roy Spaulding, who owns Spaulding’s Service Station north of the Gorilla, says he first noticed the creature three or four years ago.

Now, “When I have customers and road test (their cars), I point it out. If they don’t see it, I tell them to take a picture” because then they will. “Once you see it,” he says, “you can’t unsee it.”

And in the snow, he says, “it looks like an old gorilla.”

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. Brian Mosher says:

    I’ve taken the same picture and show it to friends. Some see it some don’t. I think of our soon to be former Senator Patrick Leahy.

  2. Schist Creek lol Sue!

  3. Sue Starr says:

    Schist Creek

  4. Tammy Bonk says:

    I always see it as an Indian chief. If you look at the end of the rocks, you will see many more little profile faces.