I think Chimney pond trail to Saddle trail to Knife edge to Helon trail or backwards is one of the easiest routes. Stay at Roaring Brook campsite. Leave early, ASAP, at first light. The earlier you leave the greater the chance you will be leaving the Knife edge trail before the afternoon storm rolls in. Eat a dry breakfast to speed you on your way. Take a water filter or pills. There is a stream 1/2 hour after the ranger station at chimney pond on the saddle trail. Refill water there. Take more water than you think you need. We did 3 liters each and refilled at the stream; nearly ran out. Do a stairmaster, jog some bleachers or something beforehand. 9 or 10 year old soccer players do fine, got passed by a few. If you are sedentary you will not. Route is 10 miles, about 3500' feet up and back down. Very rocky, poor footing. Need to use your hands and scramble in places. You do not need a compass. You do need a map. Above the treeline it is easy to orient the map off landmarks and find north or whatever. Trails are well marked. Headlamp is nice if you come off after dark, the trail is pretty steep and rocky up to the last 0.1 mile. Our crew did it in 11 and 1/2 hours. One sedentary adult, one sedentary 14 year old, 4 others in ok shape (no triathletes). We got in before dark, with a few swallows of water in our bottles left, and more in the car waiting for us. Had a blast, great pics, great for the soul. If we had to do it again we would start the hike at first light.
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