Kwaay Paay

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

Henry David Thoreau

The Monday holiday seemed a good time to go walking. And Mission Trails Park in east San Diego beckoned my wife and I to get out early, but not too early, on this late February morning. Once at the park, we might have gone the way of most of the walkers and dog-walkers along the road to the old Mission dam (first built 200 years ago), but we turned to climb the trail leading to the summit of Kwaay Paay, one of the steeper ascents in the park. For those not familiar with San Diego, this park is one of the largest urban parks in the country, and features some 65 miles of trails from paved paths around reservoirs to rolling hills shared by hikers, runners, cyclists and those on horseback. Not prepared today to take the park’s 5-Peak Challenge, which is an accumulated 17 miles of trails and 4300 feet of elevation, we hike most of the way up Kwaay Paay this morning. Along the way up we were passed by one forty-ish -looking man running down the steep hill that is the more rigorous quarter-mile fork from the road, and a few Twenty-something couples moving more quickly uphill. We engaged a few in small-talk, mostly “we’re going to stand out of your way so we don’t roll downhill into you” sort. Several who were ascending were dog-people. Corgis, young spaniels, an exuberant cocker-doodle, were bounding up and happily urged their more mature (our peers) leash-holders upward.

I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.

Maya Angelou

The memories of my wife and I at various times hiking this same hill with Happy and Sydney fifteen or more years ago, with Dexter perhaps ten years ago, and with both Dexter and Comet from 2017 to 2020 gave us a few laughs and great memories. Like Maya Angelou and Thoreau, our philosophy for living is doing good, talking with people we meet, being a blessing to others, and petting a few good dogs along the way.


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