LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. (AP) - Daredevil Nik Wallenda is using the Navajo Nation as a backdrop to one of his most ambitious feats yet - crossing a tightrope 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon.
The 34-year-old Sarasota, Fla., resident will set out today on a quarter-mile cable stretched over the gorge that was eyed by another high-wire performer decades ago. The stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record. He'll be using the same 2-inch-thick cable he used to cross the falls, only this time he won't be wearing a safety harness.
After saying a prayer, "I give my wife and kids a hug and a kiss and tell them I'll see them in a bit," he told reporters Friday in Flagstaff.
A unidentified tourist looks from a view point along the Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo reservation near Cameron, Ariz., outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, near where Nik Wallenda, the Florida-based daredevil, will bid to walk on a tightrope stretched across the Little Colorado River Gorge. The event, which will be broadcast on live television at 8 p.m. today with a 10 second delay. Wallenda will walk a third of a mile across a wire suspended 1,500 feet above the river. (In comparison, the Empire State Building in New York City is 1,454 feet high).
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 and great tragedy.
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.