Allison (excusion companion) and I reached the trailhead above Treemont around 1300 and hiked along the trail up to the Panther Mountain trailhead. The weather was quite wonderful – clear, deep-blue skies with nary a cloud in sight – albeit a bit warm. Our pace was quite brisk along the gentle grade of the old railroad bed, as Allison wanted an aerobic workout.
Crossing the creek was easy. In April, when we had tried this earlier, the water was quite high, but the drought of August had reduced the level significantly. Funny how Nature works.
By 1605 we reached the summit, if it may be called that. Blanket Mountain apparently is so called because its peak is covered by a blanket of grass [image]. One (or rather I) imagines that in the early days of the Park, much of the area surrounding the peak had been deforested. On the summit are the remnants of a cabin chimney [image] and the concrete pilings of a watchtower [image].
The benchmark's location was not readily apparent. While Allison guarded the ground, I walked around the clearing. Unable to find the benchmark, I went to the remains of the watchtower and tried to imagine the peak's condition when the area might have been surveyed. The tower rested near the highest elevation, and off to the side, amongst the trees, seemed like a good place to sink a benchmark. Sure enough, within 10m of the clearing, in a good-sized rock [image], was the object of my quest. And it only took 20 minutes to locate. Not a good first start, but still a successful excursion.
I disturbed Allison for her assistance in photographing. She then reclined in the grass [image] while I photographed some more. Then I lay down for a 20-minute nap. It was a perfect place and time for a nap – the warm sun in the clear, blue sky, bees buzzing unhurriedly from flower to flower. Pastoral.
We left the peak by 1715 and made it back to the parking lot by 1915.