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Nik Wallenda Defies Wind, Nerves in Grand Canyon Walk (watch!)

Nik Wallenda defied shifting winds to walk across the Grand Canyon on a highwire.

Nik Wallenda defied shifting winds to walk across the Grand Canyon on a highwire.

Nik Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of a high-wire circus act known as the “Flying Wallendas,” battled shifting wind and his own nerves during a daring jaunt yesterday (June 24) across the Grand Canyon. He walked on a steel cable 1,500 feet above the rocky gorge without safety equipment.

Oddly, Wallenda, 34, had a paramedic unit stationed on the canyon floor, although a fall from that height would have been certain death. Fortunately they were not needed.

Nik was never more than one step away from death, a step more than one family member has taken. Nik’s great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, was killed in 1978 at 73 when the troupe’s found was swept from wire by high winds while walking between twin, ten-story hotel towers in Puerto Rico.

Nik made it look easier than it had to have been to traverse the two-inch cable, although he crouched down twice, a move that lowers the center of gravity and provides stability, during wind gusts. But he cast off his balancing pole and even jogged along the wire near the end of the walk.

“Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God,” said the devout Christian, who had a microphone and two cameras attached to his body.

In all, he traversed 1,800 feet of cable, nearly a quarter mile in 22 minutes, according to the Discovery Channel, which filmed the event. “It was way more windy, and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time,” he said afterward.

Discovery aired the event with a 10-second delay, you know, just in case. Wallenda’s wife and two young children were among the estimated 600 spectators who watched from one side of the canyon along with about 1.5 million television viewers.

Wallenda now wants to walk a high wire between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in New York City. Fat chance of that happening, however, although the aerialist has already walked across Niagara Falls.

Check out his daring feat below. One video is of his entire walk; the other is a shorter news account of the feat.

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