Wallenda Walks Again!
June 25, 2013 – On Sunday night tightrope walker Nik Wallenda made everyone's hearts stop as he walked over the Little Colorado River Gorge in Arizona on live television without a tether or a safety net!
Wallenda's walk over Niagara Falls on June 15, 2013 was different from this walk because he was forced to wear a tether in case he slipped so that he would not fall to his death. He reluctantly wore it even though he clearly didn't need it.
Even though Sunday night's walk was much more hair raising, Wallenda completed the 426-metre (1,400-foot) walk with ease in 22 minutes, powering through winds that reached as high as 56-kilometres-per-hour (35-miles-per-hour)! He had to stop and squat down twice so that he could stop the rope from swaying in the wind.
"It was way more windy and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time," he said." "But there was never a point where I thought, 'oh my gosh, I'm going to fall.'"
Viewers who tuned into the Discovery Channel's online live stream could choose to watch the walk from five different angles, including a terrifying downward-facing view from a camera strapped to Wallenda's chest.
He jogged the last few steps and kissed the ground in relief, knowing that he could have easily fallen to his death as several of his family members have.
His great-grandfather Karl, 73, fell and died during a windy walking performance in Puerto Rico in 1978. Wallenda has also lost a cousin and an uncle to tightrope walking.
Six hundred people watched and cheered him as he came close to the end of his walk, but not all of the spectators were happy about the scary stunt.
Native Americans stood on a nearby highway during the walk holding signs in protest of the event. The walk was advertised as a walk across the Grand Canyon, when it was actually a walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge, which is a part of very sacred Native American land named Navajo Nation.
The protestors also did not like how the event encouraged people to watch one man risking his life, even though it may improve Navajo Nation's tourism. "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," said Geri Hongeva, a spokeswoman for the Navajo tribe's Division of Natural Resources.