In the months that have elapsed since the JMT I've observed changes both physical and mental, and more melodramatic people might say spiritual too.
Physically Jason and I felt amazing. The morning after we completed the JMT we woke up in the hotel room feeling as if we had run a 50 mile race the day before – very stiff, sore knees, and an overall malaise, but not much worse. Overall, we felt pretty damn good, and most importantly, we could have gone for a jog or a hike if we had to – we still had fuel in the tank, which proved to me we developed great fitness but didn’t diminish ourselves to nothing over the course of the nine days. At the end of every day we felt whooped, but never truly wasted. When you’re truly wasted you shouldn't, and wouldn't, have the energy to do it the next day. We pushed ourselves to the edge, but it was a reasonable edge, maybe more like a few feet from the edge, and we never went over. After the hike we asked ourselves if we could do it in seven days. The answer is yes, but, I believe it would have pushed me up to that very razor sharp precipice, if not over it, and may have resulted in failure.
We drove home the day after we finished, and for the next two days we didn't leave our house, embodying the epitome of laziness. We slept in, napped, went through our photos and caught up on the news. Probably the most glorious part of completing an expedition is the calorie deficit you encounter, which I personally feel gives me the right to eat copious amounts of whatever I choose, for the day or two, or ten, following the trip. I definitely ate way more cookies than is wise, and drank an extra glass of wine daily that I would normally never do. Is it healthy? No. But there are few times in life when I feel true gluttony is earned, and even fewer times in life when the calories don't show.
Truth told I lost only one pound of weight over the course of the nine days. Over the entire six months of training before the JMT I lost five pounds. And in the four months that have elapsed since the conclusion of the trip I've gained back a few pounds, lost some muscle, and my body fat percentage returned to normal.
The tip of my right big toe went numb the last few days of the hike, and it remained numb for about a month. Another scary side effect was the stiffness the hike incurred on both of our Achilles tendons, and overall foot sensitivity. Every morning when I woke up and got out of bed, it was impossible to put my feet on the floor and walk without hypersensitivity. My Achilles felt like it became a rubber band, and I would have to walk gently and stretch it till it slowly warmed up. This Progressed for about two weeks. In the days immediately following our finish we intended to go for easy hikes and to walk around to keep the muscles supple, but we never actually did. I believe this lack of movement and stretching immediately after the hike added to the stiffness.
Upon returning home I immediately bought a good fly fishing rod and learned to cast.