Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nik Wallenda – Niagara Falls – The Prairie – and Government Baloney

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Nik Wallenda – Niagara Falls – The Prairie – and Government Baloney
Because I am from the Prairie where everything is flat I am always amazed with height.  Being up high is a super charged moment in my life and I am super charged even by climbing a ladder!

Another unique thing about being from the Prairie is there are few rivers – especially where we came from. Most were called creeks or cricks.  Most were small flowing streams that would swell to a fast flowing creek after a rain fall… and then in hot weather they would dry up all together.

On the Prairie there are no Water Falls, at least where I came from in Southern Saskatchewan.  The most water would fall was when it was dammed up and then it would overflow the limits placed on it at the spillway… a structure created to let water flow out of the dam at a controlled point. The spillway could be keep the dam and its valuable water at a constant level all year.

We had to travel to Alberta to see Water Falls. But these Water Falls were all coming from the top of a high mountain and flowing down jagged rock surfaces.

As a boy I heard stories of the Great Charles Blondin that had crossed over the Niagara Falls on a tightrope… and it didn’t make any sense at all.  Why would anyone do such a thing?  The water falls that I saw in Alberta and British Columbia were spectacular in their own right – why would anyone try to walk over them.

That was all happening before I witnessed Niagara Falls in Ontario.  And that happened when I was 22 years old for the first time. That was a Wow Factor Moment for a Prairie boy to see.

We visited Niagara Falls a few months ago. At that time plans were already in the works for Nik Wallenda to walk across a tightrope over the falls in June.

Well the date for that tightrope walk is only 8 days from now on June 15.

But all the plans and the great feat that is about to happen is at another stand still.  A snag in their sophisticated planning process has come down to one small problem… there is no tightrope across the great chasm of Niagara Falls yet.

The plan was to fly a rope across the Gorge below the falls from the Canadian side to the American side… from Table Rock(Canada) to Goat Island(American).  When that is completed a cable is attached to that rope which is then pulled back to the Canadian side and attached to the support at the Table Rock area.

There is at least one small problem in 2012.  The helicopter company that was to do this work has not yet been able to get government approval to do the task. The level of Government approval that must be achieved is staggering… and the company that they were planning on to do this part of the job has not been able to get approval from the various levels.

Oh yes there are other ways to get the task done by using the Maid of the Mist to string it across and climbers to fetch the line up the Cliffside above the raging gorge below – if the Maid of the Mist can do that….

They have considered a cannon that can blast the cable across the river gorge. This is a small problem in that the last time the cannon shot the projectile it buried the thing in a tree and they couldn’t get the thing loose from the wood it was buried in… ahem.

Only seven days left and no cable in place is a small problem to overcome.

Now ABC Television is planning also their own cable to string a camera from and have it follow Nik Wallenga across the Gorge. 

At most big football games the field camera they now have hovers high above the heads of the Football players and is able to zoom in on the action.

ABC is planning the same thing… and they have to fly a cable across the Gorge as well. I don’t think it is done yet either. Hmmm? (But has anyone thought of the mist rising from the Falls below and keeping the camera lens clear of water droplets and fog? Small problem… who goes out to clear the camera as it stalls in the water mist???)

The greatest feat accomplished in Charles Blondin’s days of walking across the Niagara Gorge in 1859 was the poor equipment that might fail.  Like ropes breaking etc…

Nik Wallenga’s greatest feat will be to conquer the huge levels of baloney of the Government.

When Blondin crossed he accomplished it first on 30 June 1859. Then he did it a number of times, always with different theatric variations: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet and standing on a chair with only one chair leg on the rope.

The greatest feat that Wallenga faces in 2012 is 8 days to convince both Canadian and American government authorities at a gazillion levels of baloney to allow it.

Now a hastily erected cable over a huge distance and a troubled river below… may not be a great thing to walk across in 2012.

I am from the Prairie and the way that we think is different than the way people in other parts of the country think.

We know that Government of all sorts is usually from the city and they know little about nothing country. We all highly doubt that they know much about things like water and falls and fields and streams and spillways – they are just dumb.

We on the Prairie just know that if you are to get something done you don’t ask the Government about anything. They will send out a specialist that knows about the city – only.

And we on the Prairie think doing dumb things for a thrill should be confined to a corral with a you sitting on a Mad Bull and trying to stay on his back for a mere 8 seconds… and if you get bucked off you  try to outrun the mad bull before he kills you.

Now that is exciting.

Watching a dude walk across a tightrope after weeks of fighting Government baloney… he will likely jump from the rope to escape it all!!!

The next 7 days will be interesting to say the least.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Nik Wallenga’s Planned Tightrope Walk has Glitches
Charles Blondin
All the Tightrope Walkers

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