cloudy
Monday August 31st, 2015 6:59AM

Nik Wallenda completes tightrope walk near Grand Canyon

By The Associated Press
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. (AP) -- Florida aerialist Nik Wallenda completed a tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona on Sunday.<br /> <br /> Wallenda performed the stunt on a 2-inch-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon. He took just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him so that he could get "the rhythm out of the rope."<br /> <br /> "Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God," he said about 13 minutes into the walk.<br /> <br /> Wallenda didn't wear a harness and stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way. He jogged and hopped the last few steps.<br /> <br /> The event was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.<br /> <br /> Winds blowing across the gorge were expected to be around 30 mph. Wallenda told Discovery after the walk that the winds were at times "unpredictable" and that dust had accumulated on and around his contact lenses.<br /> <br /> "It was way more windy and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time," he said.<br /> <br /> The 34-year-old Wallenda is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and is part of the famous "Flying Wallendas" circus family - a clan that is no stranger to death-defying feats.<br /> <br /> His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico and died at the age of 73. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have perished while performing wire walking stunts.<br /> <br /> Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager.<br /> <br /> Sunday's stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.<br /> <br /> Wallenda wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that faced straight ahead. His leather shoes with an elk-skin sole helped him keep a grip on the steel cable as he moved across.<br /> <br /> About 600 spectators watching on a large video screen on site cheered him on as he walked toward them.<br /> <br /> Before the walk, a group of Navajos, Hopis and other Native Americans stood along a nearby highway with signs protesting the event.<br /> <br /> The stunt was touted as a walk across the Grand Canyon, an area held sacred by many American Indian tribes. Some local residents believe Wallenda hasn't accurately pinpointed the location and also said that the Navajo Nation shouldn't be promoting the gambling of one man's life for the benefit of tourism.<br /> <br /> "Mr. Wallenda needs to buy a GPS or somebody give this guy a map," said Milton Tso, president of the Cameron community on the Navajo Nation. "He's not walking across the Grand Canyon. He's walking across the Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo Nation. It's misleading and false advertising."<br /> <br /> Discovery's 2-hour broadcast showcased the Navajo landscape that includes Monument Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelly and the tribal capital of Window Rock.<br /> <br /> "When people watch this, our main thing is we want the world to know who Navajo people are, our culture, traditions and language are still very much alive," Geri Hongeva, spokeswoman for the tribe's Division of Natural Resources, said before the walk.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
Consumer confidence rises on better job outlook
U.S. consumer confidence jumped this month on a better outlook for hiring and growth, supporting other signs that show the economy could accelerate in 2014.
11:17AM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Rally in Henry County after racist graffiti painted on homes
The Henry County NAACP is planning a rally Monday after vandals painted racially charged graffiti on local homes.
By Associated Press
6:46AM ( 13 minutes ago )
AAA: Lowest Labor Day gas prices in a decade
Motorists in the southeastern United States should find the lowest Labor Day gas prices in a decade.
By AccessWDUN staff
5:30AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hurricane Fred forms in the Atlantic, is moving closer to the Cape Verde Islands
MIAMI (AP) — Fred has strengthened to a hurricane as it approaches the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Fred's maximum sustained winds early Mo...
5:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ga., five other states partner to combat impaired driving
Law enforcement officials in six states, including Georgia, are launching their 24th annual "Hands Across the Border" campaign aimed at catching motorists driving under the influence.
By The Associated Press
7:57PM ( 11 hours ago )
Scientists studying how rising seas will reshape Ga. coast
Scientists are fine-tuning what they know about rivers and marshes flushed with saltwater by ocean tides so they can better predict how rising sea levels will reshape the Georgia coast over the next century.
By The Associated Press
7:07PM ( 11 hours ago )