A High-Wire Walk With Faith Not To Fall


By Nik Wallenda

The two-inch-wide steel cable felt cold and wet beneath the elk-skin-soled moccasins my mother had made me. I slid one foot forward, then the other.  Below was the lip of Niagara Falls, where 600,000 gallons of water per second plunged 170 feet straight down to jagged rocks. Billowing white clouds of spray spewed hundreds of feet into the air.  The wind machines and fire hoses I’d practiced with were nothing compared with the turbulence that buffeted me and the swirling mist that made it hard to even see the high wire swaying under my feet.

I grasped the 40-pound balancing pole. It lowered my center of gravity and helped steady me on the 1,500-footlong wire I was walking, crossing from New York to Canada. I still had a long way to go.  “Looking good, Nik.” My dad’s voice came through my earpiece, quiet and soothing against the roar of the falls below. “Nice calm steps.”  My heart pounded, not from fear but from excitement. Out there in the floodlit darkness were thousands of people watching me attempt this feat, hundreds of news cameras recording my every step.

Other people had crossed the Niagara Gorge back in the 1800s but never directly over Horseshoe Falls. I had dreamed of doing this walk since I was 6 years old, and now, 27 years later, it was finally happening. “Thank you, Lord,” I said out loud, over and over.

You might be wondering how someone gets a dream like this — I know it seems crazy to a lot of people. I really think that my dream chose me. Walking the high wire is in my blood. I’m part of the seventh generation of a circus family that began performing in Eastern Europe in the 1780s.

My mom walked the line while pregnant with me. I was walking a two-foot-high practice wire in my parents’ backyard by the age of 2.

Read the rest at Huffington Post

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