"There's a lot to consider right from the start when building a trail," says David Crowley.

"It's not just about how the ride will flow, but most importantly, where the water will flow."

He's a local forester and part of the team behind Box of Birds from Tokorangi Rd to the Tarawera Rd and built in 2017.

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"One of Rotorua's legendary trail builders, Mark Smith, marked in a concept line, starting at the old As You Do exit and re-joining the trail at the bottom of the face," David continues.

"With a bit of help from other locals, I went with the concept with a slightly different line, and built the new top section through to the Tokorangi Pa Rd crossing and the bottom section from the log-roll through to the end."

Mark and Rob Metz built the section from the road crossing through to the log roll, and I detect some of Ash Edwardes' handiwork in there. The switch in builders and tree species really gives a different flavour to the different sections of the trail, adding up to a full course dinner.

The top section is a relatively mild entrée through a nice stand of douglas fir.

"Trails through these tend to be firm, dry, and fast rolling - think Paddy's Run, Yellow Brick Road, Old Chevy, Dipper and the old Split Enz," David adds.

"This section is an easy roll - try it without touching the brakes - with a couple of trickier options for those who want them."

The middle section or main course starts with a long ridge run under eucalypt trees.

"This is typical of most eucalypt trails, which tend to be dry and just a little bit loose with a terrific mix of short steep sections and run-outs, tricky turns and sweeping fish tailed descents."


The trail then drops back into the same punga covered gully that As You Do runs up, then down a punga and wattle face to the log-roll.

"This is typical of punga trails, which tend to have a deeper, organic, black soil layer, get quite slippery when wet, and take several days to dry out."

There are several short steep descents with a few log features thrown in.

"These softer soils rut out terribly easily in the wet," David adds. "Riders are asked to not ride this in the wet, and to avoid locking up the wheels when braking - never a good idea anyway.

"The bottom section eases off the face from the log-roll, back into the eucs, and back on to flatter ground. The trail ends with a bit of a pump track feel for dessert."

It's a fun, challenging grade 3 in the dry. However, some riders struggle with it, especially when it's wet. There's a working bee, tomorrow, Sunday, May 10, to build some easier lines. The team will meet at 9am at the i-Site on Long Mile Rd with transport in, tools supplied (and cake).

"Mark West's already built the first of these Fluffy Duck options just above and below the Tokorangi Pa Rd crossing, and the plan for the working bee is to build the next section from go to whoa (and, hopefully, back to whooo)."

This will be a bit different from most working bees, which tend to focus on essential, but not terribly exciting, trail maintenance.

"Box of birds, feeling chirpy, and also a quiet nod to Murray Avery who built several of my all-time favourite trails," says David.

"Hand-built trails that invoke that level of happiness, and set a standard worth aspiring to."