This article originally appeared on Theo Kayser’s blog, A Troubadour for the Catholic Worker Movement, where you can find more great stories, photos, and videos about his visits to Catholic Worker communities.
Luck came my way and I was able to participate last minute in this year’s peace walk hosted by Nevada Desert Experience. Over six days during Holy Week, we would pray for peace and walk from Los Vegas to the Nevada Test Site (nowadays officially the Nevada National Security Site or NNSS).
It’s not technically a Catholic Worker event, but every year there are at least a handful of CWs who participate. Besides myself, there were folks from the Las Vegas CW as well as CWs from Iowa and Montana.
Starting on Palm Sunday and not yet actually in the beautiful Nevada desert, the peace walkers gathered at the Atomic Museum (an offshoot of the Smithsonian) and walked to the NNSS in-town facilities. Passing through the Strip with flags and signs, folks handed out literature and talked about nuclear weapons to anyone curious along the way.
The next few days would see us walking through the desert along the highway that connects Creech Air Force Base and eventually the Nevada Test Site.
Unexpectedly, on the first day we were pounded by 50-mph winds that first whipped pebble-sized hail at us and then brought huge flakes of snow blowing sideways. So bad were the conditions that we called it a day after our lunch stop.
After the terrible weather of the first day, it didn’t seem so bad that it was getting down to 30 at night while we tented. The Temple of Goddess Spirituality would play host to us the next few nights, offering shelter and meals.
Eventually, we made it all the way to Creech, notorious as the first base to be used for piloting and training weaponized drones for the U.S. Air Force.
It’s in the small, but growing over the years, town of Indian Springs. The newish casino and giant gas station right across from the base lean in heavily to the hyper-militarism and has drone- and nuclear-bomb decorations all over.
We peace walkers held signs outside the base during shift changes for a couple of hours before a couple of peace walkers chose to block the driveway and get arrested. They were taken into the Las Vegas jail before being cited and released.
We finally made our way out to the Test Site and set up camp across the highway at “Peace Camp ” where over the years thousands of anti-nuclear protestors have camped.
On the morning of Good Friday, we took a drive to go see Yucca Mountain where the U.S. government has long schemed to store nuclear waste before returning to the test site for an anti-war Stations of the Cross led by the Las Vegas Catholic Worker.
Johnny Bob of the Western Shoshone then led a procession to the gate of the test site where a handful of peace walkers, myself included, trespassed onto the site and were cited and given court dates by the Nye County sheriffs.
View Theo’s original article here: Nevada Desert Experience Sacred Peace Walk (catholicworkertheo.blogspot.com)