Last week Friday, Traci, my student intern, Marsha, a friend and I took off to Niagara Falls to watch Nik Wallenda walk on tightrope across the Horseshoe Fall. It had been 100 plus years since the last daredevil had walked across the Niagara Falls. This spectacular event bought home to Niagara region some 10,000,000 people. The place was packed with Wallenda fans and on-lookers, including us. We arrived to the US Niagara Falls Park around the same time other people from behind were following us into the park. The park was packing up quickly with visitors. AND we were VERY lucky to find a free parking spot. We absolutely paid nothing for parking. THUMBS UP!
Quickly we got out the car to explore Old Fall Street Vendors. There were some artisans selling their crafts, pony rides, turkeys running free, clowns with red nose, a fire-eater who never showed up and some acrobats showing off some stunts on low tightrope. They were just stunt people not as hot our daredevil, Nik Wallenda.
Shortly after some mingle on Old Fall Street, we stopped for an early dinner at TGIF where the place had television blaring with news and talks about Nik’s performance. All that talk had stir excitement and we left to explore the growing crowd once more again.
We walked to Goat Island to have a look the tightrope at Terrapin Point, but after we got there to the entrance we learned that we had to have a voucher before going in the area. We blame the ambiguous announcement about vouchers sold out on the website. It said vouchers sold out at Table Top, see you at the Terrapin Point. We thought it meant the restaurant was booked and we still could go to the point. None the less we already had decided to view the event from Canada side. And so we headed for the Rainbow Bridge to Canada.
From the Rainbow Bridge we could see the from far the 1,500-foot tightrope wire extended between two points, the Terrapin Point on Goat Island of the U.S. side to Table Rock in Canada. The rope stretched through the misty gust coming from the ranging water of the Horseshoe Falls. That falls produces a large amount of mist, which often makes viewing the falls difficult. Niagara Falls has a history of deaths by daredevils whom attempted stunts at the water falls. News reporters in the crowd questioned whether Nik would brave through the mist and gust to Canada side or turn back to Terrapin point.
After night fall, some 600,000 or more people were filling up on Canada side. We all were staring at the tightrope with the waterfall as backdrop. Eventually, Nik showed up on high platform on the American side as a devil in his red clothing. He stood there and delayed his performance for about 10 minutes. Finally we saw from far some red moving across the white backdrop of the water fall. It was Nik walking. Earlier planners estimated that Nik would finish his walk in 45 minutes. Though from watching him from Canada, was moving pretty fast down the rope but when he reached the middle where all that mist and gust was stirring he stopped for a while, not just a few seconds but maybe for 3 minutes or more. People behind me and in front of me scurried to shared binoculars. Then he walked straight down to Canada side. Upon his arrival to Canada, he took a bow before he got to the Canada platform. I could see many people clapping and cheering. Nik completed his walk in about 25 minutes. I told a friend that I suspect Nik was running, not walking. Nik was in spotlight for very short time. It wasn’t enough time for me to grab a photo of myself with him at distance. The lighting was a bit tricky. It was after 10 and dark with only spotlights and people’s shadows. And you know me, I’m only five foot in which shadows keep me in the dark. OH WELL!
Eventually we had to snake through the crowd back to Canada custom and borderline control at the Rainbow Bridge. We found a very long line and decided to go for a drink instead. We went to celebrate Nik’s success over frozen Frappuccino at Starbucks, where we overheard news reporting that Nik is the first person to brave a walk on a two-inch wide wire, 200 feet in air on high water.
Nik Wallenda is now King of high wire. BRAVO!!!
Watch ABC News footage about Nik Wallenda.