16 December 2014

Running at Fort Dix

Having arrived in New Jersey from the Arabia Time Zone, I find myself awake at 3:00 am the first few mornings, though the time doesn't correspond with anything that suggests I should be waking up at that time eight hours ahead. But I take advantage by running.

It's colder here than in Kuwait.

It had been snowing lightly a couple of hours before. A film of snow dust glimmers on the cinder track. Ice on the roads makes a lonely morning run dangerous.

A bitter cold in my face, Dennis Lehane still in my ears. I log three miles.

Two nights later I run less precariously, and pay more attention to the place. My memories of Fort Dix are limited, but clear. We were here for six weeks in the spring, and my fetish for Army Basic Training left me with an unfulfilled craving for some Fort Dix history.

So I run to explore. Past the old basic training barracks that shelter us now. Past the famous water tower on 16th Street. Past a minimum security federal prison that occupies buildings and yards where trainees undoubtedly slept and trained a generation ago.

I run away from main roads to avoid being seen. I am a grown man, trying to get a work out, but I am irrationally fearful of someone who outranks me calling me out for wearing headphones. They are unauthorized, you know.

There is an unused road just west of the prison, near a water retention basin and a wooded area. It has been chewed up and spit out by the elements, and weeds find their way through infinite cracks. It curves around as if it once smiled on idyllic officer quarters, but no buildings remain. I can only guess what might have once stood there.

Another night I run by the old Walson Army Medical Center, which is supposed to be haunted. It's darker over here, which is convenient for the souls who do the haunting. When I nearly trip over a branch I am convinced it is a ghoul grabbing at my feet.

All this running makes me wonder what Fort Dix was like in its heyday. There is a museum here, which also may be haunted, because no one is there when I visit. Eventually I meet Mindy, the very friendly curator. She sent me the photos.

As is the case with KAF, BAF, and Arifjan, I am unlikely to run here again. If I do, you'll get the report.

1 comment:

  1. Run, Rich, run! That's weird that headphones are banned. Cool pics!