Wallenda Finishes Canyon Highwire Walk, Next NYC Skyscrapers

11:08 PM, Jun 24, 2013   |    comments
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William M. Welch, USA TODAY

Daredevil Nik Wallenda, the seventh-generation high-wire artist, on Sunday walked a two-inch thick cable across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. And now State Senator George Maziarz says Wallenda wants to next walk a tighrope between two New York City skyscrapers 

He completed the Grand Canyon walk in just under 23 minutes.

His tightrope was stretched 1,500 feet above the gorge floor, and he was making the televised attempt without a net or safety harness.

Wallenda began his walk a bit before 9:40 p.m. ET, as the sun was setting at the site in Arizona. His ground crew reported he had passed the half-way point about 11 minutes or so into the walk.

"Thank you, Jesus,'' he could be heard saying repeatedly as he walked.

At one point, 13 minutes into the walk, he stopped and knelt in an effort to slow the cable's movement.

Wallenda, 34, of Sarasota, Fla., is part of the famous "Flying Wallendas,'' a circus family whose acts have brought it tragedy in the past. A year ago he made a similar walk on a cable across Niagara Falls.

He told reporters two days before making the gorge attempt that he would say a prayer, then "I give my wife and kids a hug and a kiss and tell them I'll see them in a bit.''

The location of his crossing attempt was at a site in the Navajo Nation, 10 miles southeast of the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona. His walk was some 1,400 feet in length.

Wallenda's great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, died at 73 when he fell during a performance in Puerto Rico. Several other family members have died performing on the high wire.

His gorge walk was being telecast by the Discovery Channel, with a 10-second delay.

He was wired with cameras and a microphone, and his voice could be heard saying prayers as he walked the rope.

"Winds are way worse than I expected,'' he could be heard to say, about 6 minutes into his walk.

Wallenda was walking with shoes that have an elk-skin sole to help him grip the steel cable.

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