Enter Blanket Mountain.
It is a prominent peak on the Tennessee side of the park and can easily be seen from Mount LeConte, the trail up to Laurel Falls, and from Cades Cove. But the trail is no longer maintained or recognized by the park service, particularly since the removal of its fire tower decades ago. The trail is still easily accessible from Jakes Gap and taken by many who know about it. With that said, I elected to get in a short hike up to the summit and back down before the potential rains would roll in that afternoon.
When I reached Jakes Gap, the wind picked up considerably, and I could see to my right that Blanket Mountain was just below the cloud ceiling. I wasted no time and knew right where I had to go. There is no signage or mileage posted, but I knew from my 1973 Sierra Club Smokies Hiking Guide that the trail heads north along the ridge for 0.7 miles, gaining about 550 feet in elevation. The manway is obvious the entire way. There were a couple blowdowns but passable. The rhododendron growth encroaches the path higher up but nothing a crouched position can't solve. Just before reaching the summit, a few boulders stand out to the left edge of the trail. They afford one views to the west but the trees are growing up and beginning to overtake the vista. The clouds also covered the higher peaks to my left and the mist was creating a haze. I could still pick out Tremont below and Cades Cove in the distance.