Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I've been bad, I know, neglecting all the stories that happened immediately after reaching Springer Mountain. I hiked down to Amicalola Falls, tried stalking Alton Brown (alas, he was out of town, but I did spend the night at his place with the rest of his family), and played what I call Airline Roulette. Before we took off from Las Vegas, they warned us we would land either in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, or possibly just fly back to Las Vegas, but they wouldn't know until after we were already in the air for an hour.

Good times! =)

But I did finally make it to San Luis, and one of my first tasks was to "blend in" with the locals. Which did not include looking like a homeless person, a survivalist, or even an "Are you Amish?" as one person asked me while I was boarding my flight. It was finally time to take off the whiskers.

That's a lot of hair on me, and cutting it would be a big job. My mom, I'm happy to report, is a professional hair stylist, and was willing to do the job for free. For a big job like this, we decided to start with the hedge trimmers.

Okay, I'll fess up. That's a joke photo. We picked up a bunch of the hair that had already been cut off and staged the photo. We had a good time with the prank photo! =)

But seriously, for my first look, I wanted to try on a "respectable" beard. I call it my businessman look. Looks like I could be working out a multi-million dollar deal, don't you think?

What a difference a few hairs less did! I call this my child molester look. Sideburns, I decided are not for me.
This is my intellectual, "I'm wise because I have facial hair," look. Or maybe a, "I'm out on parole," look. I'm not sure which is closer. =)

This is my biker look. I don't have a motorcycle, and don't have any interest in acquiring one, but I do own some stock in Harley Davidson, so I'm very supportive of the biker movement. *nodding*
I'm not sure what this look is supposed to be, but I think it makes me look stuck-up. Or maybe a homosexual cowboy if you added a ten-gallon hat. =) But seriously.... no, I don't think a mustache fits me very well.

Yeah, that's me. That's what I'm supposed to look like. Actually, I was surprised it didn't look more like me. It looks like me, but more in an identical twin type of way, and it took me a few minutes to figure out why. I lost weight! My face was distinctly thinner than the last time I remember seeing it.

Speaking of which, I did weigh myself upon my triumphant return and came in at about 155 pounds--a weight loss of about 25 pounds. I was actually surprised I'd lost that much. I was down to 150 pounds when I finished the Appalachian Trail, a 30 pound loss, and I looked absolutely skeletal when I finished. I definitely looked thin finishing my hike this year, but nowhere near my concentration camp survivor look from finishing the AT. I'm not sure how I can look pleasantly thin at 155 pounds and look dangerously bulimic at 150 pounds.

And for you number folks, when I arrived at Amicalola Falls SP, there is a scale for hikers to weigh their pack on. When I started my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, my pack weighed in at 40 pounds. I knew it would be a lot less upon my arrival from Key West. First, I was getting off the trail, so I wasn't loaded down with lots of food and water. I had enough food left to last me another day or day and a half in the backcountry--about three or four pounds worth. Additionally, I finished off the last of my water minutes before my arrival, so my pack had no water in it. Total pack weight when I arrived: 22 pounds. I then took out all of the food from my pack to get just the base pack weight: 18 pounds.

I don't claim to have the lightest pack in the world--I had a number of luxury items including a book, a PocketMail device, and what might be the heaviest pot ever for a successful solo thru-hiker. I also had an abnormally large amount of cold weather gear, a necessary precaution given the fact that it snowed on me two days earlier! And despite all that, my base pack weight was 18 pounds.

I expect this to be my last post to this particular blog. Before I sign off, I'd just like to thank everyone who read my writings and left often amusing and uplifting comments. You have no idea how much I would look forward to those whenever I got into a trail town. =)

-- Green Tortuga, signing off


Peas on Earth said...

Ryan, you're so clever. I love the ... uh ... hair progression? (for lack of a better term)

Welcome back to our world.

s of the peas

Anonymous said...

Great ending! The biker look was hilarious.

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

janet, Blooming Flowers

Anonymous said...

Oh, boo hoo, Ryan, I was just commenting to someone tonight that I sure missed your daily posts on the hike.
Amanda better keep her eye on you, your a hunk! ha ha. Er...a hunker down kind of guy....trying to find those letterboxes.....blush, blush...
Great to see at least this last one little add on, thanks. I bet you did that just to advertise your calendar, didn't you? snicker.
Okie Dog, cowering away......

Ryan said...

Actually, I deliberately waited to post the haircut photos until the calendar was done and I had something to link to. =) Yes, I was holding back!

Anonymous said...

See now, I think the sideburns one is the best look for you.

Dunno about the "child molester" bit, but that one suits ya.

In any case, a fun post!

Anonymous said...

the chimo one was my favorite too.

Anonymous said...

The final mustache one could be called "Ready for the Audition for Boogie Nights II..."


David Baril Jr. said...

couldn't help but notice the girl sitting int the background. she couldn't take the pictures for ya!

StarSAELS said...

Dog! Stalking AB, my hero? LUCKY!!
Too bad you didn't try a pork chops trim on the 'burns.


jackbear said...

Ha! I grow a beard each winter, and this reminds me of my spring ritual of shaving it off. Here is my "deconstruction"...


Anonymous said...

OMG...I thought I was going to fall out of my chair laughing at those hair cut photos and your funny descriptions. I will miss reading about your adventures now that your thru-hike is finished and you've made your last post here.


Anonymous said...

OMG you are hilarious! Looking forward to your next adventure. I think the 'could be mistaken for alqueda-look' was prob the best considering you had to fly home.
Watch out for the snails and banana slugs on your next hike PacNW-they're sneaky!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely loved the different "looks." I think the biker one was my favorite.
I've loved reading every single blog you posted about the hike. Thanks for taking us on your adventure.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all of your stories Ryan! It was quite an adventure that you made us feel a part of. The hedge clippers was my favorite hair photo and April was my favorite month too. I can't wait until your next trip! Great ending!

♥ Lady Lilac

Anonymous said...

Ryan it was a sheer pleasure to follow along with you on your journeys. Thank you for taking so much time to share with all of your stories and events and pictures.

Make sure you keep in touch. :)


Anonymous said...

Hey, I kinda liked that biker look on you! But in the long run, only one person's opinion matters. So which look does Amanda like?

-- Kirbert

Anonymous said...


Ryan, seriously here. It's a good thing you didn't leave that child molester look on you for long.

Because I TOTALLY would have knocked Amanda over and run off with you in my trunk. MRRROWR.

(Just kidding, Amanda! Heehee...)

Anonymous said...

"I expect this to be my last post to this particular blog. Before I sign off, I'd just like to thank everyone who read my writings and left often amusing and uplifting comments. You have no idea how much I would look forward to those whenever I got into a trail town. =)"

it goes both ways, it was always nice to come home from work and hit the computer ans see just what your travels included, the funny side notes about the day and those you met along the way. i like the last pic......yeah its me look, by the way.
thanks for "taking" us along with you.


Anonymous said...

What is the realtionship with Alton Brown? Just curious.


Anonymous said...

er, relationship


Anonymous said...

Amanda's cousin is married to Alton Brown. And we stayed at their house in Atlanta while we were there.

-Amanda from Seattle

Anonymous said...

I feel a "Good Eats" letterbox coming on.....


Anonymous said...

If you were a blonde, you would have resembled 'The Dread Pirate Roberts' with you 'basic' mustache. Very funny. The 'biker' look suited you the best, if you want to keep the facial hair. The wardrobe would be cheap, too- some flannels and some OC Chopper T shirts. Probably the steele toe Doc Martins would cost you the most with that look... :) Then again, the Pirate look could be worthwhile. Black and more Black... Either way, it is nice to see you have hung up your Terrorist look. (I am suprised they let you on a plane without a cavity search. Or did Amanada help with that?) {The plane i mean, not the cavity search....} :) Thanks for letting us join you on your journey!

Anonymous said...

I lovewd reading all your blogs, sorry they are now done, but love the pics of the before and after look, I kinda liked the mustache, liked the husbands mustache too and he cut it off. MEN

Anonymous said...

What a great finish! Thanks Ryan for letting us virtual hikers come along on the trail with you. So...when do we get to read this book in hardback? You ARE going to publish, aren't you? Heck, you've got a built in first 1000 or so orders I right everyone?
Thanks again! So glad you made it home safe and sound and looking like yourself again!
Mama Huntin Dog

Anonymous said...

I love the calendar page of July, tee hee.

Anonymous said...

The biker look is really Wyatt Earp, now!

You should keep that one!


Anonymous said...

When I saw your Intellectual look, my first thought was "Magician"

How much did you weigh before the hair cut?



Anonymous said...

AHHHHHH!!! Amanda's cousin is married to ALTON BROWN!! OMG. . .I am SUCH a fan! Like an I-have-such-a-crush-on-Alton-Brown fan! Oh, I have to email Amanda. . .


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your travels. Fun Read.

DC Stones

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Noticed some of the wall decor in that room. Is your Mom into horses and southwest culture?

The pictures were great! The hair transformation was very entertaining. :D

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers