That’s the official stretching out spot behind Lowes for The Great Esker Park 5k. Designed by yours truly. I don’t just Ocean Kai 5k. I Esker too. It’s actually better than The World’s End 5k, which I am doing as soon as I finish this article, because it’s a lot more wilderness. Great Esker Park is lightly traveled. No Trustee of the Reservation type people in their Trustee of the Reservation clothes. There is an actual fashion sense in World’s End which I would define as Fruit Center. The people that shop there. Trustee of the Reservation too. The Esker is different. There are few people in the park outside of the kids in summer camp when it is in session. Now to the main event. Once I’ve utilized those shrunk wrapped bags of potting soil to stretch out. It’s time to Enter the Esker. Great Esker Park is a glacial formation that rises ninety feet. It is also a considerable bird sanctuary. Although it is right off 3A: it’s a mini wilderness. I’m often pretty put off when I return to my Chevy locker room. Boom. Boom. Boom. I put on my deep house music. Down tempo myself. Wow. That was a taste of the real thing. I actually just got a taste of real wilderness. Right behind Lowes of all places. That osprey got massively pissed off at me when I ran by his nest down at Whale Island. He chased me for a good quarter mile. Cawing his head off the whole way. I didn’t know Osprey were that irritable. The entrance, though, is pretty uneventful. I cut through a fence behind Lowes. I theorize that the Esker is lightly traveled because there is no ceremony. You don’t pull up to a clearly defined entrance. Welcome to my house. There isn’t some Ranger, in a hut, to welcome you, like World’s End. You park the car in the parking lot of Lowes and you go. Saddle up, handsome. We’re taking the reversing falls trail today which will send you down a pond stone shore line. Nice and bumpy on those old bones. Then we piss off the osprey. And he chases us. It’s tradition at this point. The Official Entrance, to be fair, is behind an Urgent Care. And somebody stole the sign. So the Esker is losing customers. I prefer my entrance though because the potting soil stretch out routine is tradition too. Not one person from Lowes has ever complained to me. I theorize they watch me on the security cameras. Here he comes again. Let’s time his run today. He looks to be getting faster. I’m actually fairly well know as Old Man Runner. It’s pretty clear that my intentions are good. I am here to run the Esker. Once you duck around that fence: it’s an urban wilderness back there. There are paved roads along with single track. You’ve got people that live out there seasonally. Up high you can find yourself running through a spray painted forest. You can chug along under some power lines at low tide. There is plenty of appeal for a guy like me. I am good with all of it. Calling it an urban wilderness is really accurate. There are houses in view along the way. But it can get rugged quick. There are so few people utilizing the park. That’s one of your risks. I sometimes worry myself. What if I get bitten by a snake way down here at Whale Island. I am mightily screwed. It’s a half mile to the road. But it’s ninety feet up. And ninety feet down. All of it rugged single track that winds. And it is currently raining sideways to add to it. Plenty of spin out with the wheels. Not what I want to do injured. Maybe my rescue mission would be to swim to the Hingham side. That’s how I actually think when I am way down deep into it. Running through mud flats at low tide. I put my trucker hat over my face when the bugs overwhelm me. Whatever poor running idea I am executing. It’s the old time wilderness guy. I can come up with really terrible ideas in the Esker. I’ve wadded across at Wharf Street because the wooded pedestrian bridge to the other island is washed out. That’s my route. Bridge or not. We’re sticking to our plan as poor as it might be. Making a mess of my run is what makes it so much fun for me. I saw one person yesterday. And one fox which was the highlight of my run. The fox was on top of the Esker which is ninety feet tall at the highest point with steep drops as I have noted. The fox ran out on the road in front of me and proceeded to keep running. I took chase. The fox would stop. Look back and bolt. I was laughingly mightily as I chased after it. The old fox and hound. Osprey Overlook Park which is at the end of Great Esker Park, the turn around point, is a real triumph. They took a literal dump with an incinerator upon it and capped it. The sight lines are just incredible. It had to have been done with laser precision. I sometimes run from Jackson Square and tackle the Esker from that direction. I like to do that when it rains. It’s incredibly lonely. It reminds me of wilderness backpacking in the 1990’s. In August when we had all that rain. I would tackle the Esker from Osprey Overlook in my bathing suit. I don’t like people looking at me but the rain solved that. So off I go old school cross country runner. Shoes and shorts. That’s it. That’s all your equipment. 100% humidity. Hot as hell. You can’t really get more old school than that. My shorts weren’t short enough. I will concede that. What they used to issue me at Belmont Hill School for cross country was ridiculous. They were tiny but they also flapped up at the side. The singlet was possibly worse. I think their operating theory was that the colder and more embarrassed we were. The faster we would run. I did the bathing suit runs because younger self was taunting me a lot in August. You know that person that you used to be. Younger self was telling me. Get your cross country on, old man. Get yourself a singlet and a pair of spikes. Show the Esker who is boss. #OldManRunner