TODAY

TODAY   |  June 04, 2013

Daredevil: Grand Canyon tightrope walk is ‘a dream’

Nik Wallenda, the tightrope walker known as “the king of the high wire,” has been captivating the public with his death-defying feats for years. He talks about some of his most famous accomplishments and his new book, “Balance.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> walneda has been captivating us with his death-defying feats.

>> and now he's about to tempt fate once again. nick walenda likes to take the high road , instead of crossing the street he's crossing on the high wire between paradise towers in the bahamas. back in 2008 he made history on "today," first a skywalk at the prudential center in newark, new jersey, even took a break to call in to the studio.

>> it's a little windier than i expected it to be, that's for sure.

>> then the highest and longest high wire bike ride, but he didn't stop there, in 2012 millions held their breath when he became the first person to walk across niagara falls and reaching new heights. nick has his sites set on the majestic beauty of the grand canyon , later this month. nick writes about his life in the new book "balance, a story of faith, family and life on the line." good morning.

>> good morning.

>> no nerves right now as you're getting ready for the grand canyon ? how are you feeling?

>> a lot of anticipation, excitement. this is a dream of mine i've had for a long time and i'm extreme extremely excited it's about to come true.

>> a quarter mile across the grand canyon , the fall to the bottom is about as high as a skyscraper, is that fair to say?

>> that's right t is, actually higher than the empire state building up.

>> and you're doing it we should point out without a tether which means it's you and your balance.

>> i'm doing it the way my family has done it for generations and it fulfills my dream.

>> why not wear a tether?

>> it's something my family has never done. it's been taught to us it's a false sense of security, if you have it, it could hang up around you or i had a family member with a net that bounced out and was killed. for this i'll be training in sarasota florida for two weeks with everything from strong winds, gusty winds, updrafts, downdrafts so i'm prepared for anything i might face.

>> that family member you mentioned that was killed happened to be a grandfather, carl walend ain 1978 he was crossing the candada hotel in puerto row co. you and your mother fulfilled that walk.

>> i've been able to fulfill a lot of dreams, to create that it gave me a lot of closure with my mother and father to say our family we did have an accident and regained. this is who we are.

>> this is a family business but has to be some point your wife says dad, honey, the grand canyon with no tether, that's crazy.

>> that's one of the the unique aspects, my wife comes from eight generations of circus, flying trapeze , a family in austral australia, and she's accustomed to it, knows it, shares it the same passion as me.

>> the pit crew as well. your mother designs the shoes that you use on the tight rope , your uncles are involved with the tight ropes it self, the construction and your father is in your ear all the time.

>> he's my head safety coordinator. he makes the final call whether the winds are calm enough and whether it's safe to go. he has the experience behind him and the sound mind as i'm get in that zone.

>> we can't wait but nervous and excited as well. we're going to be hosting the walk on skywire live with nick walenda at 8:00 p.m . on discovery.