I completed the LSHT over Thankgiving week in November of 2021 with one of my dearest friends. Our week was full of long days on trail, silly anecdotes, new experiences, and varying degrees of exhaustion.
Recovery aside, ending 8 days on a trail had some unexpected side effects, but I'll outline that better further down. The last night on trail was bitter sweet, there was a looming regret that it was almost over. My first three days were a mixture of excitement and doubt, but by the 4th I felt really settled into trail life. My companion and I had become very efficient with setup and breakdown, so our last evening stop very quickly had us trying not to sit in the reality of ending the next day while at the same time reviewing all we'd been through for another of our girlfriends who joined us for the last leg.
We finished successfully and drove home seperately. It was the first time I'd been alone for 8 whole days. I missed the chatter, the companionable silence, the laughter at our farts... all of it. I was able to ride the excitement of accomplishment as my predominant emotion for a week while settling back into life with my husband and son before the underlying grief of completion set in. I missed the simplicity of our days.
Finishing the LSHT had been a big goal, and now it was just done. I had no new goals set, nothing to plan, and I REALLY missed my trail-wife. There was a deficit in the 'after' that was washing out my experiences of daily home life taking its toll. This apathy I was experiencing couldn't quite be understood by my family. While this feeling abated mostly on its own, I absolutely pitched a tent in the backyard the following week and engaged more with online groups to help.
I have come out of the experience with a better understanding of how to embrace and reconcile with the emotional side of completion. Will I do it again? Yes. It was worth it.