PHOTOS Mountain Men’s Eustace Conway as a beardless younger man

Eustace Conway from Mountain Men reality series official History Channel photo

History Channel has continued its string of successful manly reality series with the 8-episode Mountain Men, which focuses on the lives of three men living “off the grid” in the mountainous regions of northern Alaska, Montana, and the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. The show premiered to a whopping 3.9 million viewers, who I’m sure all watched from the climate controlled comfort of their living rooms and bedrooms. (I watched it a few days later thanks to the beautiful magic of DVR technology.)

51-year-old Eustace Conway, who currently resides on a 1,000-acre plot of land he calls Turtle Island in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, got his first taste of living at-one with nature when he spent a week in the woods at the age of 12, completely empty-handed, making his own shelter and living entirely off the land. That stint in the wilderness sparked a fire in little Eustace that led to many more adventures. From GQ:

When he was 18 years old, he traveled down the Mississippi River in a handmade cedar canoe. When he was 19, he walked the 2,000 miled of the Appalachian Trail, surviving on only what he could hunt or gather along the way. Over the next few years, he hiked the Alps (in sneakers), kayaked across Alaska, scaled cliffs in New Zealand and lived with Navajo in Mexico.

When Eustace was in his midtwenties, he decided that he wanted to study a primitive culture more closely, so he flew to Guatemala. He got off the plane and pretty much started asking, “Where are the primitive people at?” He was pointed toward the jungle, where he hiked until he found a remote village of Mayan Indians. He lived with the Indians for months. They liked him a lot.

Mountain Men star Eustace Conway's photos now and when he was younger

It was some time during this period that the two inset photos above were taken, which feature a youthful and beardless Eustace Conway wearing what appears to be a homemade shirt. Here are the two photos on their own – just click to enlarge:

Mountain Men's Eustace Conway as ayoung man

Ol’ Eustace Conway was clean-cut and and a bit on the cute side as a young man!

Mountain Men's Eustace Conway had short hair and no beard as a younger man

As I’m sure you probably guessed, Eustace’s adventuring didn’t stop after hanging out with the Mayan Indians in Guatemala. In 1995 he and his brother Judson rode horses across America, from South Carolina to San Diego, in 103 days! They reportedly set out after eating a hefty Christmas dinner and arrived in And Diego just before Easter, surviving “off the land” the entire journey, which included roadkill deer and squirrel soup. They slept in the barns of folks they met along the way, or else snoozed beneath the stars when weather permitted. And perhaps most shockingly of all, there were no sponsors for the trip or reality show cameras along for the ride.

But don’t think cameras are an issue for Eustace Conway, who is no stranger to the attention being on Mountain Men is sure to bring. In addition to doing numerous speaking engagements and presentations all over the world, Eustace was also the subject of the National Book Award finalist biography The Last American Man by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Last American Man book coverBook about Mountain Men star Eustace Conway titled The Last American Man
^ Two different The Last American Man book covers

Nowadays Eustace spends most of his time living off the land on Turtle Island Preserve in northwest North Carolina where he helps spread the gospel of self-sufficient living and oneness with nature. Here’s his personal message from the Turtle Island Preserve website that pretty much sums up what he and the Preserve are all about. (I’ll toss in a few great videos as well, including Eustace Conway’s presentation at the TEDx Conference in Asheville in 2010 and an NBC News piece about him from a few years back.)

When I first walked on this land, Turtle Island, I knew I had found the sacred ground I had been searching for. It matched the vision I had carried since youth — a remote pristine valley — to be kept forever wild. I bought the first 107-acre tract that week. We have added many more tracts since then and built a farm from the forest and a program based on experiential education. “SIMPLY REAL” became our motto and hard work, focused and determined our daily mantra.

We created a place where people can get in touch with the roots of humanity and connected with the resources and abilities that sustain our existence. We simplfy our day to food, shelter, water, and clothing which enables us to see more clearly the picture of how we fit into the bigger circles of life; our food chain, water cycle, Eco system, and environmental economics.

We break rocks to make stone tools, bend bark to fashion baskets, and spin sticks to create fire. We drive horse and buggy, plow gardens, dry wild persimmons, cook stinging nettle, watch the morning light first hit the tree tops and lift a rock in a stream to see what mysteries reside there. We watch a spider weave a web or 42 butterflies stir at our quiet passing.

We enchant the overstimulated apathetic bored spirit within us as we wash the dust off by standing in the rain watching the deer come closer, listening to the wren’s call — not just hearing but listening to the wild things as if they matter and then realizing that they do.

At Turtle Island you can meet people who really live in the forest and take immediate responsibility for their actions. We work with groups of all types from business professionals to elementary classes. We are eclectic, diverse, spontaneous and creative we offer a door to a renewed vision of an ancient natural reality that governs all. With a few sticks and bones we can wake up your world!

In Peace,


  • Epic

    Asa Hawk and Starcasm staff. I have a problem being quoted speculatively on your website and would like an apology. Please see yesterday’s article where I was likened to some teenager with a desire to hurt others when all I was doing was advocating for a young child without a voice. I was forced to defend myself in your comments section on that article. That is ridiculous.

  • Epic

    Well that’s nice. No response.

    And to think I’ve defended this site and suggested it to friends because it always tries to get the story straight, not jump to conclusions and not make decisions without evidence. Yet here I am misrepresented without so much as a word. Sad. I expected more from you guys.

    • Toby

      You shouldn’t expect anything from ANYONE… Do you need someone to hold your hand?

  • Eustace Conway’s “Turtle Island Sanctuary” has been shut down for numerous severe violations of health and building codes. It seems those nasty government types feel it is improper to have hundreds of visitors using the woods as a toilet and structures in danger of collaps are a threat to those same visitors. Maybe Conway can get volunteers to do the work of rebuilding and to pay him $750 per week for the privilabe of doing his dirty work, that has worked up to now.

    • Herman Vogel

      He spent said money to buy land to keep it away from “developers” that only want it to make a profit and to hell with the land or trees, or don’t you care about that…. I stand with Eustace, thank you.

      • Vet63

        Open your eyes, Eustace is cutting trees as fast as 4 guys with chainsaws can fell them. He talks a good game about preserving the land but he exploits it as much as anybody and more than most. He has enormous stacks of sawn lumber drying behind his saw mill. He doesn’t want anyone else to exploit the forest because he wants it for himself.

        • Herman Vogel

          So you live up there and know him personally? That not what I hear from my friend that live 5 mile away from him.

          • Vet63

            Ask your friend where the timber comes from to keep Eustace’s saw mill running. Ask him if he has ever actually toured Turtle Island. Eustace does not allow casual visitors. He has an open house one day per year where visitors may see the areas Eustace wants them to see, otherwise the cheapest way to visit Turtle Island is to pay $65.00 for a one hour buggy ride and you still only see what Eustace wants you to see.

            • Herman Vogel

              So you are saying a man CAN’T use HIS property for his own use? Gee, I thought we had a Constitution? Or is it only for people like YOU? Eustace is a conservationist,,,he harvest responsibly unlike the Developers moving in next to him.Gee, are you jealous or just like to HATE?

              • Vet63

                Of course he can do what he likes on his own land, a right he seeks to deny to others. The point is that he is a phony, he doesn’t walk his talk or come anywhere near it, for Eustace it is “do as I say, while I hide what I do”.
                So is “hate” the current liberal buzz word? That to expose a fraud is “hate” if the fraud happens to be beloved by the uninformed?

                • Herman Vogel

                  So you own land of any significant amount? And you allow others to run all over it? yeah,,,yeah. LMAO geez

                  • Vet63

                    It’s obvious that you have a severe case of hero worship of a man you’ve never met and who in truth does not exist.

                    • Herman Vogel

                      It’s obvious that YOU dislike people that don’t sit on their azz all day. I’ll ask again, how much land do you own,,,Sq, feet, Acres, Section, what…how much? If he did cut down as much as you say he did,,,the place would be empty,,,but I see one or two trees standing around…

                    • Vet63

                      Let me just run through a few of the lies we all heard Eustace tell on national TV. He claimed he lives on less the $2,000 per year and that his only source of income was selling firewood. A quick look at his web site dispels both of those lies. He claims to live off the land and grow all his own food but people who have interned there say that in fact Turtle Island produces almost no food but depends on donations and dumpster diving. The best one however is when he claimed the government has a lien of $85,000 for back taxes on his property. Truth is there was a lien on his property but not for taxes. It was for settlement of a law suit where a child lost an eye on Turtle Island. The original amount of the settlement was $400,000 which Eustace never paid. So the plaintiff agreed to a reduced settlement of $85,000 which Eustace still never paid. So it was again negotiated downward And Eustace still has not paid. So there is your folk hero, he cheats a crippled child and lies about it on TV to garner sympathy in hopes some fool like you will offer to pay his debt.

                    • Herman Vogel

                      I may just help him out just to pizz off the HATERS like YOU…;)

                    • Vet63

                      There you go with your pathetic buzz word again, when confronted with truth just call it hate and continue to live in your fantasy land. Go for it Tinker Bell.

                    • LC Kid

                      I hear that Dockers” are on sale at the mall. Why don’t you run on over after you finish your latte. You are goofy, and have no idea what life is about.

                    • LC Kid

                      Go to the mall idiot.
                      Things happen to people, but it does not mean that they have a right to enrich themselves. Any accident is tragic, but referring to an unfortunate accident, and referring to the “victim” as a “crippled child (lololol) is ridiculous!.

                    • Ricky Ross

                      That was his attempt at an “Appeal to Sympathy” to sell his side of the situation. It is a manipulative way of coaxing folks to your side of the debate. Glad that you and a few others see through it.

                    • komisarka

                      Well, how do you refer to a child who’s lost an eye?

                    • themanwiththeplan

                      I’ve read other reports that all wasn’t on the up and up about Eustice doing charity work and trying to teach kids how to live off the land. I’m not sure, but read that the money he charges for kids to stay there is very high, and not worth it. That he gets people to volunteer their labor to build on his farm. He always wants free labor, but don’t give back to the kids. I’d say the guys that kept disputing what you said, was actually Eunice.or a friend. What do the locals say about Turtle Island Preserve? I would like to hear their thoughts. Thanks, John

                • bob DERRY

                  its HIS LAND knucklehead….So u live in the woods and talk and walk the walk huh ?Doubt it…Sound like an angry old man

            • Ricky Ross

              Kind of like my house. When folks visit, I prefer to now when they are coming and I do not allow them access to certain areas of my house >>> my bedroom, closets and the room where my safe is at. What’s the problem??? Sounds like someone is jealous of Eustace … and it’s not me!

              • Vet63

                Oh so you also have areas where you hide your scrap yard and your trucks, tractors, backhoes, motorcycles, and ATVs while claiming to do everything with horses?

              • Rebecca Crabb Cisco

                Just to show how much Vet63 has annoyed me, let me correct him. The so called child that was injured was a 28 year old woman. She was simply on the wrong place at the wrong time. While I feel bad for her that she was blinded in one eye, accidents happen. We live in a sue happy world. I wouldnt call her disabled. To me disabled means incapable of doing consistent productive work. Many people have jobs that are blind in one eye. Give the lady some credit.

                Eustice is the owner of a piece of land that has turned into a non profit learning center. Yes interns do the work. That’s how they learn.
                If a person wants to stay city then stay in the city. I live from the land, hunting, foraging and raising much of my own food. Not all my food, because I admit I like sugar too much.
                I think Eustice has a right to cut trees and make lumber on his own land if he chooses. Etc. What he teaches is valuable. No education is free. Sone of you people think he should give his knowledge away.
                I will admit straight out that I am envious of Eustice. I have a small farm but would love to have that much land. I grew up on a 1300 acre ranch. I long for the privacy and solitude again. I also grew up in a primitive lifestyle. I loved it. Although…indoor plumbing is rather nice…. however much of my life is pretty primitive yet.

        • KINGMAN

          UE EYES R SOOOOO CLOSED !!!!

        • jackie

          He replants new trees, I’m sure. BIG difference vs developers.

          • LC Kid

            The definition of suburbia is when developers cut down all of the trees, and then name the streets after them.

        • LC Kid

          Only part of living off of the land idiot. With 1000 acres, it is self-sustaining. Must have had a hard time finding a parking place at the mall for you to make such an ignorant comment.

          • Vet63

            Living off the land? Charging $750 for a one week camp on his land and accepting zero liability for injuries to campers? I don’t doubt Eustace knows HOW to live off the land, you would be surprised at how common that knowledge really is, but the point is he does not DO it, he just lies about it and even though you hear his lies and know he is lying you still warship at his stinking feet.

        • Dicky Rich

          True that. Those 1000 acres are his honey pot and he rapes it as he sees fit. These mountain men rape the land. They kill north american wild cats and its sickeningly wrong. Fuc those guys. They are no better than poachers or loggers.

        • Big Ed

          Timber is a renewable and sustainable resource.
          It’s easy to see you have a problem with him though…Why is that?

          • Vet63

            I have a problem with any devious, deceitful crooks and con men. Apparently you think dishonesty is a virtue. I’d bet you support Hillary too.

        • Heidi Berg

          He needs it to survive dumbass and its his property.

      • Donna

        I agree too

    • American Dreamn

      Funny how all of his buildings were found to be stronger than existing code requires. Developers and a local government wanting a more robust tax base, were what was behind this over reach. Evidently restrictions even prohibit them from consuming the food they grow. The regulations where I live actually prohibit feeding livestock out of the garden…(They get out fine. You throw it over the fence to them, your in violation.) There is way too much of that kind of garbage that I hope more people will get fed up over and do something about it. They wanted this man to have a sprinkler system in a dog house for petes sake, and try to argue the point that cider blocks are stronger than stone….Ridiculous…I really don’t care if the man is the biggest charlatan since Albert Abrams. What the local authorities did was wrong, and I am sure had not so pure motives behind it.

    • Hung Far Lo

      ah-so, you very very jealous of Eustace I see

    • Donna

      Why are you being so mean

    • Fritz

      Eustace Conway’s property was never shut down. What actually happened is that he was sued by some woman in 2006 over an accident, apparently blinded in one eye during a slingshot demonstration on his property. They went to arbitration, agreed to settle with her out of court for $75K, then never quite got around to paying her. The idea was that he was supposed to sell off part of that 1000 acres to pay for it, and did not, so she had to take him back to court.
      Instead of telling people what actually happened when he was served with papers the History Channel ripped off the BLM Vs.Brady Ranch story from the news, and cooked up the “evil government officials” fakery. Here we are, 2017/18 and Mr. Conway’s hippy camp, and tree farm is still alive and kicking.

  • Herman Vogel

    When the SHTF we will ALL want a Eustace Conway as a neighbor and friend.

    • Vet63

      That’s an interesting thought but the truth is he has constant squabbles with his neighbors now. He has been arrested for trespassing on neighbors land where he thinks he can tell people what to do on their own property. He has no friends because he is totally selfish and cares about no one else.

      • Herman Vogel

        I talked to a friend of mine in NC and he said that Eustace Does argue with the neighbors BUT, the Neighbors are Developers that clear cut trees, doze out natural waterways and create environmental damage to the forest by eroding the natural landscape which effects his property. I would be pizzed too.

      • Doug Kendall

        Totally agree with you. The guy is whacked.

      • LC Kid

        Sounds like you have an agenda. You got your feelings hurt, and want to case Eustace as the devil. You are VERY transparent.

      • dan graves

        Met the man last weekend. He has alot of friends and is well liked here. Yes there is hollywood sensationalism going on with this show, but if you rely on media for your truth, you have issues buddy.

      • dan graves

        Id be willing to bet that vet63 is a fake profile of a angry developer or state building inspector

    • james

      really? seems like being his neighbor involves full time work helping him get his property squared away…for free no less. no thanks….

      • Herman Vogel

        YOu DO know that his “Neighbor” gets almost $12,000 an episode,,,right? As for ‘Free and No thanks. You may also want to know that Eustace give him a lot of wood from his mill and also helps him on HIS place,,,that’s what Neighbor do,,,don’t know about yours. sad.

        • Doug Kendall

          Gives wood? Thought Eustace didn’t cut down forest. He survives by donations & now a salary from history! He should pay that little kid 400K now. He’s a fake & fraud.

          • Herman Vogel

            WOW, talk about having a Hate-On for a man living on his own. The Kid’s parents should have been more responsible and watched her. As for the lumber, the land he protects is HIS,,,unless you Don’t believe in property rights. He only cuts dead or “crowded” trees. That actually Helps the forest by allowing sunlight onto the ground and cutting and using Dead Trees reduced the Fuel Wood during forest fires. Don’t know why you HATE this man so much but you should get to know what he does before you condemn.

            • Vet63

              There you go with your buzz word again. Exposing a fraud is not “hate”. Is your mind actually so narrow that your can’t even imagine disagreement without hate? Your constant use of that word says a lot more about you than about the person to whom you refer.

            • Vet63

              When parents pay $750 for a one week camp they probably assume they are putting their kids in the hands of responsible adults and that the camp has proper liability insurance. That was Eustace’s problem, not that an accident happened nor that he was rightly sued for damages but that he was too cheap to take out proper insurance before operating a commercial enterprise.

          • LC Kid

            I suppose that if you had some greedy person wanting to rip you off for $400,000 that you would just pay it, right? Idiot. Go to the mall.

            • Vet63

              The court awarded $400,000 for the loss of an eye. After years of Usless refusing to pay the claim was finally settled for pennies on the dollar and you call that greedy? How much would you sell an eye for?

      • timber

        The neighbor/ friend of Eustace is nothing but a b*#%* for Eustace! Probably likes the b-work, waiting on Eustace hand and foot his every waking moment, wish I had a b- neighbor like that!!!hahaha

  • Donna

    Are Eustace and Preston a coiple

    • james

      i’m starting to think they are. neither one has a girlfriend/wife to report to, and they spend, what seems, every waking moment together. preston also works his ass off for eustice. i’m all for helping your neighbor out when its necessary or asked, but damn, this guy is doing it full time for free.

      • Bbb

        Preston has been married for over 20 years. Stop trying to pick apart men that had the courage to live a full life backed by passion!

    • Doug Kendall

      Preston is married with grown children. Been married for 30yrs. They are neighbors.

  • Coastman

    Govt doesn’t like freedom of any sort

  • Margot Neseth

    Complain, complain and nothing but complain. Aren’t there more important things to worry about than Eustace cutting down trees on his property etc.? Comeon people. We are living in a world where people are starving of hunger, wars are increasing, diseases are on the rise, animals are being extinct and the list goes on. Even greed has become so paramount people that are living in industrial countries have to work on two jobs to make ends meet. Focusing on one person what he does or doesn’t do does not justify the fact that we live in a world that outweighs the problem some of you are bickering about. So people, get a grip on reality.

  • L D

    I just saw that his friend Preston died July 24, 2017. He seemed like a good guy. RIP

  • Doris Tavernia

    I want to meet Eustace