Back on top of the world

One of my favorite places of all time is the summit of Sharp Top mountain in Bedford. To get there, it's a 1.5-mile hike with about 1,300 feet of elevation gain. Needless to say, it's not easy, but it is a lot of fun getting there. It's a continuous climb over mixed trails -- gravel, dirt, boulders, tree roots, rock steps, and a very small amount of pavement. Once you get there, though, the view is just breathtaking ...

Sharp Top, Bedford County

Yesterday, I headed there with my dog, Duke. It was the first time I've been there since May 2010 when I went there with a group for a long run/hike.

Sharp Top SummitDuke took to the trail like a pro. It's amazing to me the instincts that animals have in an environment they're not used to. While we've been on trails before, we had never been on anything like this.

Whenever we came to a point where we needed to go up rocks, he spotted an easier route. Duke, who has never even jumped in the back of my Ford Escape, had no problems jumping up or down over rocks.

As for me, it felt good to have this extra time on my feet without it being a run. After Saturday's race I felt pretty good, and this just felt like extra bonus time in a higher elevation to help prepare me for Blue Ridge.

More importantly, though, I was just happy to be back on top of a mountain. I certainly hope that another two years don't pass before I get back.