Wallenda says a prayer, prepares tightrope feat near Grand Canyon

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Associated Press

Posted on June 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 23 at 7:28 PM

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. (AP) — Daredevil Nik Wallenda has said a prayer and kissed his wife and kids as he gets ready for 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 is ready to start crossing a quarter-mile cable which is stretched over the gorge. This same stunt was considered by another high-wire performer decades ago. It comes a year after Wallenda 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.

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.

Nik Wallenda, who was born a year after his great-grandfather died, began wire walking at the age of 2, on a 2-foot high stretched rope. He grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager.

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