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Out of the Ordinary

Nik Wallenda tight rope walks across Little Colorado River Gorge

Nikki Shewmaker

Nik Wallenda has seven Guinness world records for tight-rope walking

World-famous tigh-rope walker completes death defying stunt he’s dreamed about for decades

Nik Wallenda, the world-famous high-wire artist, performed his latest death-defying feat when he crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge in Arizona over the weekend. Spectators looked on and a Navajo Nation ranger and an emergency crew were positioned at the bottom of the canyon as Nik Wallenda crossed the gorge without a safety harness.

Nik Wallenda, 34, is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and has been performing with his family, known as the “Flying Wallendas,” since he was a toddler. Several of Nik Wallenda’s family members, including his grandfather and uncle, have died during falls while performing. Despite the risks, Nik Wallenda carried on the family business, earning his seventh Guinness world record after crossing Niagara Falls.

Traversing the Little Colorado River Gorge had been something Nik Wallenda had dreamed about since he was a teenager and teaming up with the Discovery Channel, Nik Wallenda was able to achieve his personal goal. He wore a microphone and  two cameras ( one facing down and one facing straight ahead) as he crossed the quarter-mile, 1500 foot high canyon during “unpredictable” winds that reached more than 30 mph during his 22 minute trek. Nik Wallenda can be heard praying during the entire crossing and twice he had to crouch down on the 2-inch steel cable when the wind blew dust into his contact lenses.

“It was way more windy, and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time,” Nik Wallenda told the Discovery Channel crew after the harrowing walk. Nik Wallenda was overall pleased with the crossing, but others were not.  A small group of Navajos and Hopis protested the stunt, claiming the area was sacred to Native American tribes and not the appropriate place to publicly gamble a man’s life.

Either way, Nik Wallenda beat his own personal record and is planning bigger and better feats in the future.


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