This track around Mt Somers / Te Kiekie is a popular tramp. Huts were booked out so I decided to tackle this one as a meaty 25km run with almost 2km of vertical gain. There are a few ways to approach this track. To shorten the distance and position a steep ascent at the beginning, I started at the Sharplin Falls carpark to the east, following the trail clockwise all around the mountain. For a shorter, steeper option consider traversing the mountain via the summit - a trail runner I encountered assured me there is a northern summit track. A longer run could be created by including the Rhyolite and Woolshed Creek tracks, with the option to commence at the Woolshed Creek carpark in the west.
The first clearing during the initial ascent. The entire south face had beautiful views out across the plains.Beautiful rock formations and forest around the west of the mount. I think that's Two Thumb Range visible in the distance.I took a snack break at this bus stop. Alas, no bus arrived.A steady uphill slog after Woolshed Creek Hut takes you to a saddle north of the mountainAnother view of the plains before the track dips down below the bushline to reach Pinnacles Hut. There were a bunch of fires in the distance.
I was not mentally prepared for the last few kilometres of the trail. The climb to Duke Knob near the carpark looks innocent enough on the map but really took it out of me. It was a luxurious feeling to relax on a camping chair once I got back to the car, despite the feasting sandflies. My legs were cramping all the way home.