Box of Birds is one of the newer trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest.
"The name relates back to an expression of happiness," says David Crawley, one of the builders of BoB. "Feeling chirpy, like a box of birds."
The trail runs from the top of Tokorangi Rd down to the Tarawera Rd end of Long Mile. It really came about because of the success of another trail, As You Do.
This was developed from an overgrown forest road winding up the steep Tokorangi face from the Lynmore side of the forest.
"The old road was partially cleared several years back and linked through to the lower Tokorangi Pa Rd, mainly so Lynmore riders [like me] could ride through to the trails that started up there," David continues.
"Awesome trails like Gunna Gotta and Corridor."
Having an old harvesting road under the trail meant that somewhere below there was a hard surface, and eventually people using the route just wore their way down to it.
"Unfortunately, that surface also made it difficult to get the water away and it's taken a lot of drainage effort to get the trail into a relatively stable form."
David is the official trail adopter for As You Do "but Mark West does most of the maintenance required to keep it in pretty good shape, while other locals pitch in after storms and help keep it open".
Use of As you do grew and grew, and it became busy with walkers, runners and bikers all going up and down.
"Of course, within a couple of hours of heading up, most riders discovered that As You Do was even more fun going down," David adds.
"Riders could start at the top with the best intentions of being careful, but the trail always invited a little more speed, and any thoughts of safe stopping tended to get left behind [way behind]. I spent a lot of time clearing sight-lines and, while I never heard of any serious accidents, the risk of a someone getting run into by a rider coming down just kept rising."
In 2017, the Trails Trust and land owners agreed to make As You Do uphill only and build Box of Birds to get them down the face.
While the new trail quickly became a new favourite way home for many riders, some found it a bit challenging and not really a practical link.
Next weekend, there'll be a working bee to create some easier optional, grade 2 or 3 lines. The original sections will remain in place, and will still be the faster, harder option.
"We had a similar working bee on As You Do a while back to build the new exit which was a good, fun session with a nice result," says David. "There's nothing quite like riding a trail that you've built yourself, or even riding sections you've seen your mates build. It certainly adds another dimension."
Join David and the crew, Sunday, June 10. Meet at the Redwoods i-Site on Long Miile Rd at 9am.
Next week: more about how riderotorua.com/Box-of-Birds evolved.