I've been watching Sam's trek. I've been skeptical since the start and offered Sam my thoughts when he asked. But I'm sure many were skeptical of some of my trips so I thought it was good that he put himself out there anyway.
BTW, you guys are a lot nicer than the folks over at WhiteBlaze -- they've really ripped him apart.
Sam is off to a very slow start, which is partly expected and partly a surprise. Winter travel in upstate NY is not fast -- there's enough snow to warrant slowshoes, I mean snowshoes, and the days are short. But his days-off (4 already I think, after 12 days), his low-mileage days despite full days on roads, and his apparent lack of prep (Was surprised by the NCT's road miles, is improperly equippped for winter camping, etc.) are all worrisome signs.
To have a legitimate shot at pulling this trip off, he needed to hit the ground running, and instead he sounds only slightly better than the average AT thru-hiker newbie. It's really difficult to make up for lost time, when your average pace leaves is about the max that elite hikers have been able to maintain. I'd be interested in knowing how many miles Scott Williamson hiked in the first 12 days of his PCT speed record hike a few years ago -- I'm betting over 40 miles per day. On my Alaska-Yukon trip I skied 315 miles in the first 12 days, or 26 miles per day. Sure, on skis, but the weather there made upstate NY look like Palm Beach.
I've run some numbers and I don't see how Sam manages to finish 3 trails, never mind 4, unless things pick up substantially, which they very well might. The NCT is about 4400 miles, according to my figures from the Sea-to-Sea Route. When Matt Hazley ("Squeaky") did the Triple Crown in 2006, he started the PCT on May 3. To be in Campo on a comparable date, Sam needs to do about 35 miles per day. Yikes! Let's assume he can average 25 miles per day, which is more reasonable. That puts him in Campo in late-June. SoCal in late-June -- well, I guess it'll be a welcome break from upstate NY in January! Squeaky finished the PCT and the CDT by mid-October. If Sam continues to run a 1.5 months behind Squeaky (I can't imagine how he could make up time on Squeaky's blazing pace), that in theory would make for a late-November finish. He'll struggle to get through Colorado (and some of the NM's higher areas), especially if there are some early Pineapple Express storms. Assuming he finds a way through, then you're looking at starting the AT in late-November. By that time of year, most of the AT in NH, ME, VT, and western MA is pretty awful, if not impassable. If he can get into CT, the rest of the AT is hikeable year-round, but that's a big if.