Sunday evening,Nik Wallenda crossed a quarter mile gorge in Northwestern Arizona on a wire.Yet a question has arisen as to whether he actually crossed the Grand Canyon.In a word,no.He walked across something else on the wire:the Little Colorado River Gorge.The Little Colorado River flows into the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.So he really crossed an offshoot or outlier of the Grand Canyon,which was indeed a spectacular achievement-just not exactly as billed by the Discovery channel.
It's surprising that co-host Natalie Morales and her employer NBC News went along with the innacuracy,possibly damaging their credibility.Grand Canyon National Park said it wouldn't allow such a stunt on its land because it constitutes a disturbance to the environment and visitor experience.The Navajo Nation did allow it on their land for the fees and publicity the stunt generated,to the benefit of the tribe,in their judgement.
During his crossing without a harness or netting to break a fall,Wallenda,34 and the married father of three,complained of dust on the cable and strong wind gusts,at times kneeling to wait out the swaying,as well as expressing his Christian faith in brief utterances.It was a much tenser experience for him and his viewers alike than his crossing of the Niagara River Gorge,when he was required to wear a harness.
It was confusing,totally an optical illusion,Wallenda said.It took every bit of me to stay focused.There was a huge rhythm in the cable.My contacts are filled with dust and my mouth is very dry,like crossing the desert.
My ancestors are a great inspiration to me.It's such an honour to carry on the legacy.
The crossing took 22 minutes,54 seconds.There were 700,000 tweets about the event,up to 40,000 tweets a minute,and the Discovery channel's website got 1.5 million hits.
In the end,Wallenda stood alone looking out over the gorge,wiping tears from his eyes.