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High-wire walker sets sights on Georgia gorge



ATLANTA (AP) - Daredevil tightrope walker Nik Wallenda is setting his sights on a new goal: the nearly 1,000-foot (305-meter) deep Tallulah Gorge in the northeast Georgia mountains.

The Georgia gorge holds special meaning for Wallenda, since his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda crossed it on a high wire on July 18, 1970.

"To be able to walk literally in his footsteps is what my life's about," said Nik Wallenda, who discussed the idea in an interview hours after he crossed a 100-foot(30 1/2-meter)-high tightrope inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Feb. 8.

Karl Wallenda later plunged to his death while trying to walk a cable between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978.

Nik Wallenda says he's already visited the gorge near the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls, and he's considering attempting the feat within the next three years.

"Hopefully we can make it happen," Wallenda told the AP.

The Georgia gorge walk would add to accomplishments that include his televised crossing of Niagara Falls in June 2012 that gained international attention. Last year, he crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge in the Grand Canyon area of Arizona.

In northeast Georgia, local leaders say a high-wire walk across the Tallulah Gorge has the potential of drawing thousands of tourists to the area and increasing its visibility globally.

"It would put the Tallulah Gorge and Tallulah Gorge State Park back on the map," said Teka Earnhardt, the administrator at the Rabun County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It would be huge for us."

Karl Wallenda's walk across the gorge drew an estimated 30,000 spectators to the north Georgia mountains. Hikers can still see remnants of the 1970 stunt, such as a large metal platform used to support the cable that was used.

The area, particularly the Chattooga River, is still known as the site of filming for the 1972 film "Deliverance." The nearby Tallulah Falls Opry, a weekly gathering of bluegrass musicians in the nearby town, also draws some tourists to the area.

"We're very interested in working with Nik Wallenda," Earnhardt said. "It is something that we are already trying to work on."

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Shu Shu February 23 2014 at 8:55 AM

We visit that area every year on our way to North Carolina. The area is beautiful. Wishing Nik the best of luck, hopefully we will be able to be there and watch him do the walk.

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Tom February 23 2014 at 8:35 AM

He's either got a death wish or is the bravest guy I've ever seen.

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Chris Canavan February 23 2014 at 6:06 AM

SPLAT!!!

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Robert Valdez February 22 2014 at 11:56 PM

all I can say may the good lord b with u cause when its your ime it doesn't matter what u have done that's all there is o it

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JOE February 22 2014 at 10:24 PM

We have a piece of the original 1970s platform hanging in our cabin up on lake Rabun !! Good luck to you Nik

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smiles41 February 22 2014 at 6:38 PM

Good luck, Nik...I have been there....just dont look DOWN....

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Kevin February 22 2014 at 5:20 PM

I live 25 mins. from 'The Gorge'. This would be a boon for the local economy.
Welcome Nick W.

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harleyatl February 23 2014 at 9:19 AM

it probably would, but can the local environment handle the added stress of all those people? I live in(near) Atlanta, and the gorge is on my list of places to go see, but I don't know that I want to see it after 30,000 people have trampled all over everything...

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Yoyo16b February 22 2014 at 5:10 PM

good luck nik,,,hope all goes well for you

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elizabeth February 22 2014 at 5:01 PM

Can't wait to see this fine and talented young man walk the wire again !
He's our hometown hero !

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Bill Anthony February 22 2014 at 4:48 PM

More power to him, you couldn't pay me enough to just try to stand on that wire, while still on the rim. Hope he makes it in good shape. I watched over the canyon last year, held my breath most of the way. Not a good thing to do, but safer than walking accross the wire.

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