NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - "I can't thank you enough for all of your support and encouragement," said Nik Wallenda, to fans assembled outside the Seneca Niagara Casino after concluding his brief training session on a high wire there Tuesday morning.
But after 11 days of practice, Wallenda also informed them the session they just witnessed would be the last one here, before his June 15th walk across Niagara Falls.
"I'm just drained, I'm beat , I'm tired... I was dizzy walking (today)...I've just been going non-stop," said Wallenda, in explaining his decision to cancel what was scheduled to be final practice session on Tuesday afternoon.
Wallenda will continue to train for the highly anticipated walk across the falls, when he returns to his homes in Florida and Branson, Missouri.
Now that it's pretty much a certainty that Wallenda will be forced to bow to pressure from sponsors to wear a harness (against his wishes) Wallenda says the device is being fashioned, and that he'll try and get accustomed to it before he returns.
"Absolutely I'll be rehearsing with it because it is something that'll be uncomfortable for me, something that I've never done before...so it's definitely something I'll be training with," he said.
As Two On Your Side was first to report last week, several of the sponsors underwriting the stunt demanded that he wear some sort of safety device to keep him from plunging 200 feet into the Niagara Gorge, fearing that if he were killed, their names would forever be associated with a tragedy played out live on television.
Wallenda, who early on said it appeared to him that the city government wasn't exactly embracing the event, was singing a different tune today.
"I think at this point everyone is stepping up. (Niagara Falls, NY) Mayor Dyster came out to talk to me....we were able to talk for a bit...and it seems like that effort has begun and things are coming together now," Wallenda said.
Wallenda took part in a tightrope walk on Monday afternoon with simulated conditions. City fire trucks were used to create the wind and mist Wallenda is expected to deal with when he attempts to walk across the falls.
The practice cable and crane which has become a fixture outside the Seneca Niagara Casino for the past couple of weeks will be dismantled starting Thursday.
Wallenda says he won't return to Niagara Falls until a few days before his scheduled walk on June 15th, but noted that preparations are already underway on Goat Island, from where he expects to begin the walk shortly after 10pm that night.
There, a crew has excavated a spot for the support apparatus for the cable upon which Wallenda will walk. It is actually several hundred yards inland from the brink of the Falls at Terrapin Point, which will allow Wallenda a straight line to actually cross over the Falls and not just in front of them.
Wallenda also now says crews will begin rigging the cable on the evening of June 12th (which is one night earlier than previously announced) in order to accommodate the needs of the ABC Television Network which will broadcast the event.
The rigging could prove to be an interesting show in and of itself, according to Wallenda, who says a helicopter will be used to initially bring what is called a "messenger rope" across the gorge.
Smaller and more light weight than the actual cable he will walk on, once the messenger rope is fashioned on either side of the gorge, the actual cable will be attached to one end of it, and then pulled to the other side.
Two On Your Side's coverage of Nik Wallenda and his upcoming walk across the falls, continues on our Walk in 2 History page.