I won’t soon forget the recent beautiful fall day I spent climbing and swinging through the trees high above Red Creek for my latest Gulf Coast Bucket List adventure.
Elevate Red Creek is an adrenaline-pumping, aerial adventure park located on 40 acres in Perkinston.
Set high in the lush canopy above Red Creek, Elevate Red Creek offers the opportunity to navigate a series of obstacles that will challenge both young and old visitors physically and mentally, with a whole lot of fun along the way.
In June, T.J. Golson and his wife, Donna, along with friend, Dusty Watts, made their six-year dream of opening an aerial adventure park a reality.
How it began
After being introduced to zip-lines while on a business trip in Costa Rica, Dusty asked T.J. what he knew about them one evening when their families were vacationing together.
“I said, ‘Nothing. I’ve never been on one,’” Golson said of how things began. “When Dusty said we ought to build one, I just said, ‘I’m in. Let’s do it.’”
After buying the property,they visited many existing zip-line facilities to see what they wanted to bring back to South Mississippi, he said.
They decided to do more than just zip-lines, so they created three separate obstacle courses that are set in trees above the ground, challenging your ability to climb, leap, swing, zip and balance.
My day at Elevate began by heading to the Harness House, where you receive gloves and the harness that will keep you safe at heights that sometimes reach 50 feet above the ground. Once getting the necessary equipment, it was on to the required Ground School training.
Ground School is a mandatory training session that occurs prior to being able to participate. After checking your equipment for proper fit, you are then walked through the basics of how to use it, and what rules to follow. The No. 1 rule being stay clipped-in at all times.
At first it seemed like there was going to be too many steps to remember in order to navigate the courses, but being able to practice at heights not too far off the ground quickly brought confidence.
Apparently a little too much, as while many of the youngsters who were in class demonstrated they could remember everything on the first go through, I was playfully scolded and called to the back of the line after zipping down the practice line without gloves.
Time to climb
After demonstrating that I could remember all the steps, it was time to climb. Deciding to skip the Mockingbird Course, which is a course for younger explorers built 3-to-10 feet above the ground, I made my way to The Kingfisher, which is comprised of a dozen obstacles at heights of up to 40 feet.
“Remember as you’re going through the trees today to look at stuff,” Golson advised before my adventure began. “Enjoy the sights and the beauty of the creek.”
Keeping his advice in mind, I climbed the first ladder to begin my journey through a series of obstacles that included climbing nets, wobbly bridges, climbing walls, and zip-lines that traverse beautiful Red Creek.
I was surprised how much the harness allowed me to step outside my comfort zone. Realizing there were so many safety measures in place allowed me to relax and have fun. Taking a little over an hour to complete, I moved on to the more advanced course called The Osprey, which takes about an hour and a half, and finishes with an exhilarating 600-foot zip across Red Creek.
Elevate Red Creek is open year-round on Saturdays and Sundays for walk-ins or reservations, and during the week for groups of 10 or more. You can make a day of it by bringing picnics and coolers, or spending the evening by renting one of the two cabins on the property.
They also offer a Red Creek Adventure Package where you can enjoy a three-hour canoe trip after your aerial adventure. For more information visit: www.ElevateRedCreek.com
Author Christopher Dearman, who moved to the Gulf Coast a few years ago, wants to take advantage of all of the Coast has to offer. He writes a series of occasional articles highlighting some of the Coast's treasures for the Sun Herald.
Elevate Red Creek
5106 A-Vestry Road,
Perkinston MS, 39573
There are three courses from which to choose: Mockingbird, the low course, is $19.99 per person; Kingfisher, the intermediate course, is $34.99; and Osprey, the advanced course, is $34.99 per person. The Elevate Ultimate Challenge combines the Kingfisher and Osprey courses for $54.99 (prices and availability are subject to change).