Labor Day Sunday’s beautiful, and Mackey and Roux and Turner and I had the great good fortune of spending the long weekend with Pat and Megan’s dogs Luna and Lola. And my friend Lee and his son Owen brought their dog Lucy along and we had a beautiful hike at the river! Lee took this picture when we first got down there. My dog Mackey is the black dog (probably a Flat Coated Retriever mix) to the left. Maybe he’s a purebred; he’s an AARF dog. The beautiful Lucy is the Black Lab in front. She’s a great neighbor and a great hiker. Pat’s dog Lola is the brown dog in front of Lucy; Pat’s daughter got her from a shelter near Staunton. I think. Lola is energetic and cheerful and never runs out of gas. Pat’s other dog Luna is the black and white one in the picture, mostly or completely Border Collie. They got her from a Border Collie rescue place in Louisa. She is a doll, very loving and affectionate and pays great attention. Roux, as readers of this blog are aware, is my friend Alex’s stunning German Shepherd; that’s her on the right. Roux is an absolutely superb animal, in personality, in intelligence, in appearance. In spirit, in mind and in body, as we say at the YMCA. She is the Total Package. Just to my left is the newest addition to my home and my life, Turner. He’s from BARK. To the best of our knowledge he’s a Belgian Shepherd. There are four color variants among Belgians, a Malinois (I think that’s what Turner is), a Tervuren, a Laekenois and a Groenendael. That’s what my spectacular old dog Nicky was. Seal Team 6 took a Belgian into Osama bin Laden’s compound back in May. Turner clearly does not have the temperament for that type work. Nicky would have been a star. Belgians are superb animals.

We are ALL ready to hike!

Turner’s been on three full hikes at PP on the leash; today was his first off leash hike. He was perfect!

Obviously he's been hiking for a while...

Autumn is not quite here on the calendar yet, but it’s making its presence felt at Pony Pasture:


There are pawpaws on the ground too. They’re getting big and ripe and delicious:

Fresh produce abounds

Walnuts are also on the ground (this is why they call it “Fall”, a noun and a verb):


I think these are from a sweetgum tree? Anyone who knows more about that, please comment or email:

Sweet gum (tentatively)

These guys (probably girls too) were sunning themselves mid-river. It was a long shot:


I’m sure someone knows what this is; please enlighten me. Us. Enlighten us:

Anyone care to identify this?

We’re into September now and there are still several flowers growing. This is a cheerful example; it’s from the pasture itself:

A beautiful yellow flower

Lee and Owen and Lucy and Lola and Luna, thank you again for accompanying Roux and Mackey and Turner and me – what a hike! And thanks for the pictures, Lee! Have a great Labor Day everyone,

Jay, Roux, Mackey and Turner

PS Today wraps up Week 5 of training for Beach2Battleship. I have a 2+ hour run this afternoon. Training is going extremely well. It’s easier now. The workouts are longer but there are not as many of them. Long workouts are the reason I love this sport.

PPS Sometimes I just can’t take my eyes off the river. It always changes but it never goes away. It’s always reassuring:


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to FANTASTIC hike

  1. Evelyn says:

    Jay, Great pictures – it looks like everyone had a blast. I’m fairly certain the spiky ball is Sweet Gum and the other might be a Sycamore seed ball. Beauteous burbling river

  2. Thanks! I know I had a blast, and it appears all my four-legged pals did too. I think Sweet Gum is correct for the spiky ball, and Sycamore sounds right for the other one. After pawpaws and maybe pine trees, Sycamores are probably the most widely distributed tree species at Pony Pasture. Thanks again! And the river just always looks nice. I like those transition areas where it makes a swift change from smooth to bubbly.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I think it is an Osage Orange – google image it and see what you think. I feel better now, I am generally cheerful, I was just out of sorts yesterday.

    • It does look like an Osage Orange, but only because there’s nothing there for scale. It was about as big as a golf ball; Osage Oranges are as big as baseballs or bigger. I know you’re generally cheerful. In my association with you over the past LOTS of years you’ve always appeared to be entirely gruntled. So I was surprised to hear you disgruntled. Glad it was a passing thing! Have a great day,


  4. Pingback: PP Flora | NEWFAZE

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