LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — Aerialist Nik Wallenda completed a tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona on Sunday.

Wallenda performed the stunt on a 2-inch-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon. He took just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him and the rope swayed.

"Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God," he said about 13 minutes into the walk.

Wallenda didn't wear a harness and stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way. He jogged and hopped the last few steps.

The event was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.

Winds blowing across the gorge had been expected to be around 30 mph. Wallenda told Discovery after the walk that the winds were at times "unpredictable" and that dust had accumulated on his contact lenses.

"It was way more windy, and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time," he said.

The 34-year-old Sarasota, Fla., resident is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and is part of the famous "Flying Wallendas" circus family – a clan that is no stranger to death-defying feats.

His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico and died at the age of 73. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have perished while performing wire walking stunts.

Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager. Sunday's stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.

Wallenda wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that faced straight ahead. His leather shoes with an elk-skin sole helped him keep a grip on the steel cable as he moved across.

About 600 spectators watching on a large video screen on site cheered him on as he walked toward them. A Navajo Nation ranger, a paramedic and two members of a film crew were stationed on the canyon floor and watched from below.

The ranger, Elmer Phillips, said Wallenda appeared to be walking like any normal person would on a sidewalk. But he said he got a little nervous when Wallenda stopped the first time.

"Other than that, a pretty amazing feat. I know I wouldn't even attempt something like that," Phillips said. "Very nicely done."

Wallenda told reporters after the walk that he hoped his next stunt would be a tightrope rock between the Empire State building and the Chrysler building in New York. But he said he would give up tightrope walking altogether if his wife and children ever asked him.

Before the walk, a group of Navajos, Hopis and other Native Americans stood along a nearby highway with signs protesting the event.

The event was touted as a walk across the Grand Canyon, an area held sacred by many American Indian tribes. Some local residents believe Wallenda hasn't accurately pinpointed the location and also said that the Navajo Nation shouldn't be promoting the gambling of one man's life for the benefit of tourism.

Discovery's 2-hour broadcast showcased the Navajo landscape that includes Monument Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelly and the tribal capital of Window Rock.

"When people watch this, our main thing is we want the world to know who Navajo people are, our culture, traditions and language are still very much alive," Geri Hongeva, spokeswoman for the tribe's Division of Natural Resources, said before the walk.

CORRECTION: The headline of this post has been edited to reflect that Wallenda was near the Grand Canyon, not across it.

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  • Nik Wallenda

    A large crowd watches as high wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    A large crowd watches as high wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda gestures as he answers questions during a news conference Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    Spectators watch as high wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda concentrates as he walks across a wire during practice Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda walks across a wire as he practices Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    High wire performer Nik Wallenda is silhouetted as he walks a wire during practice Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. Wallenda, a seventh generation high-wire walker, will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Nik Wallenda

    FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE -In this June 15, 2012 file photo, Nik Wallenda walks over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Wallenda finished his attempt to become the first person to walk on a tightrope 1,800 feet across the mist-fogged brink of roaring Niagara Falls. The seventh-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas had long dreamed of pulling off the stunt, never before attempted. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn, File)

  • Nik Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope across the frontstretch before the NASCAR Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup series auto race in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

  • Nik Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda pumps his fist after walking a tightrope across the frontstretch before the NASCAR Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup series auto race in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

  • Nik Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope across the frontstretch before the NASCAR Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup series auto race in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

  • Nik Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda pumps his fist after walking a tightrope across the frontstretch before the NASCAR Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup series auto race in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

  • Nik Wallenda

    FILE - In this May 16, 2012 photo, Nik Wallenda performs a walk on a tightrope in the rain during training for his walk over Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y. For his latest feat, the professional daredevil is going to try to do an unharnessed tightrope walk high above the beach in Atlantic City, N.J. Atlantic City tourism officials are hoping 50,000 or more people show up to watch Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, as Wallenda attempts to traverse a line connecting the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel to the Tropicana Casino & Resort. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

  • Nik Wallenda

    FILE - This May 16, 2012 file photo shows Nik Wallenda performing a walk on a tightrope in the rain during training at the Seneca Niagara Casino for his walk over Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, N.Y. In recent years, for economic reasons, Niagara Falls has thrown open its doors to casino gambling, gay weddings and a tightrope walk that, until laws were relaxed, would have meant arrest. It even briefly considered taking in toxic wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. On the drawing board now is a plan to entice young people to move in by paying down their student loans. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

  • Nik Wallenda

    FILE - This June 15, 2012 file photo shows Nik Wallenda walking across Niagara Falls on a wire in Niagara Falls, N.Y. In recent years, for economic reasons, Niagara Falls has thrown open its doors to casino gambling, gay weddings and a tightrope walk that, until laws were relaxed, would have meant arrest. It even briefly considered taking in toxic wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. On the drawing board now is a plan to entice young people to move in by paying down their student loans. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

  • Nik Wallenda

    FILE - In this May 2, 2012 file photo, Nik Wallenda waves to tourists after a news conference in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The New York city of Niagara Falls says daredevil Wallenda still owes about $25,000 for public safety costs from last month’s tightrope walk across the falls, and it’s having a tough time collecting, according to reports Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

  • Nik Wallenda

    In this June 15, 2012 photo provided by ABC, aerialist Nik Wallenda advances toward the Canadian shoreline while successfully completing his 1,800 feet-long tightrope walk over the brink of the Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik)

  • Nik Wallenda

    In this June 15, 2012 photo provided by ABC, aerialist Nik Wallenda advances toward the Canadian shoreline while successfully completing his 1,800 feet-long tightrope walk over the brink of the Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik) TABLOIDS OUT; NO BOOK PUBLISHING WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL,; NO ARCHIVE; NO RESALE.

  • Nik Wallenda

    Nik Wallenda walks a 1,800 feet-long tightrope over the brink of the Niagara Falls, as seen from Niagara Falls, Ont., on Friday, June 15, 2012. Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

  • Nik Wallenda

    In this June 15, 2012 photo provided by ABC, aerialist Nik Wallenda raises a fist in triumph while successfully completing his 1,800 feet-long tightrope walk over the brink of the Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik)

  • Nik Wallenda

    In this June 15, 2012 photo provided by ABC, aerialist Nik Wallenda advances toward the Canadian shoreline while successfully completing his 1,800 feet-long tightrope walk over the brink of the Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik) TABLOIDS OUT; NO BOOK PUBLISHING WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL,; NO ARCHIVE; NO RESALE.

  • Nik Wallenda

    In this June 15, 2012 photo provided by ABC, aerialist Nik Wallenda raises a fist in triumph while successfully completing his 1,800 feet-long tightrope walk over the brink of the Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik) TABLOIDS OUT; NO BOOK PUBLISHING WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL,; NO ARCHIVE; NO RESALE.