So I’ve made it a point to go to Go Ape (Trent Park) every year for my birthday… except for last year when I just stayed home and stewed in my emotions. So what is Go Ape? The website explains it like this:
“Our magical forests are the perfect place to let loose, have a laugh, and reconnect with your Tribe. Whether you’re eight or eighty, with a head for heights or not – we’ve got the perfect adventure for you.”
The more specific explanation is that it is a series of outdoor adventure activities or as I like to call it: obstacle courses! I love activities that engage both my physical and mental thinking. So, I’ve decided to compile a list of their activities and offer solutions on how to complete it as efficiently as possible. There are five sets and each have their own challenges so I’ll cover the most notable ones. So let’s begin!
This is pretty straightforward although it definitely engages your balancing abilities. One foot on one plank, one after the other otherwise you’ll find yourself tipping towards the floor (it is much higher than portrayed in this picture).
There are four zip wires in total at the Trent Park location one of which contains a skateboard. I was initially terrified and reluctant to fully step off the platform and my cousins shoe fell off on this (so much for his bravado!). For all the zip wires, you have to fully engage your body in keeping it facing forward (with all your might!) especially if you don’t want to end up rotating and landing on your bottom and grazing it a little.
Another pretty straightforward one. Don’t place your feet at the edge of it though to begin. Rather, place one foot first on the middle left/right and that should help you maintain your balance.
Again place feet in the middle and grab hold of the rope. Have fun with it, swing a little like we used to with normal swings (This will make you feel 8 years old again!).
I warned everyone that this would be difficult and they all looked at me… no, wait, they paid no mind at all. And then they approached the platform and finally what I said started ringing true. Yes, this is the infamous Tarzan swing! Now, it looks easy but when the net is far off and swinging off the platform with nothing but the ropes to hold onto requires a helluva lot of courage. When I first went to GoApe, I was determined to make the platform my new home, I was not going to move an inch. And then someone or the other pushed me off the platform (with my consent, don’t worry (I wasn’t worrying though?)) and surprisingly I laughed euphorically when I fell into the net… it was completely thrilling and liberating! This one is for the daring and bold, the risk-takers, for sure. The next time I went, I gave myself three seconds to gather my courage and off I went. You really have to push yourself with this. Also, when you do make the eventual jump, do not grip the net at first but let yourself swing away from the net because you will fall onto the net more lightly and it’ll be easier on your body.
This one is for the climbers. If you’re familiar with rock-climbing, you’ll know that you need to maintain a close distance between body and net and keep you arms and legs wide to make the sideways climbing easier. This was not my favourite, I found it to be quite heavy on my body and very challenging.
This was a new addition or perhaps I didn’t come across this one the last time I went as you can choose your own difficulty setting in the sets (I went for the difficult setting). My cousin found this fairly straightforward but for the life of me I couldn’t see the hoops. Halfway through I realised that if I lean back a little, I’d be able to see the hoops more clearly. From then on it’s pretty straightforward and simply requires focus and daring. Nonetheless this was really fun and I really want to do it again!
There are no rules or tips here… just have fun! Run through it if you want or take a stroll, be one with the nature surrounding you, contemplate your life goals and ambitions, make some long-term plans, compose a song, text back… you get the gist.
Oh… this little bugger… right. The space in between the barrels is, well, a lot. Me and my short and tiny feet were completely distressed and unsure how we would reach the next barrel. This is the hardest time you’ll have on your knees. But not to worry, Sophski has a plan (yeah, I gave myself a nickname. Yep, that’s where I’m at.)! Approach the barrel by gripping the edges inside and hoist your knees to the next barrel. I’m hoping you’re wearing thick pants because the next thing is sliding across the barrel using your lower legs otherwise you are going to be there for a long time. This can be a slog but if you use my method it’ll be a lot of fun!
And that is it for now! My birthday spent at Go Ape was truly memorable and my year is not complete without Go Ape. My cousin had her nails done at the salon a week beforehand (not the best idea) and I had finished the set early and I was waiting a while for my friends and family. Suddenly, I heard the instructors gathering and rushing to the first set. As you can imagine, I thought someone must have seriously hurt them self only to find out via the instructors walkie-talkie that my cousin had broken her nail during the Tarzan swing and was inconsolable. She was too upset to continue which was a shame because she was looking forward to it most after me. Nonetheless, it’s still an amazing memory and I will never forget it.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@sophismaax) for more amazing photos of Go Ape and the very beautiful Trent Park.