Time: 3 days in June
Finally it's time for me to do a hands on test of my survival training method JVMS. In short Jonas Vildmark's Method for Survival Training (JVMS) consists of the formula [xobject+10xkm+10xh] which describes the relation between stuff, distance and time. This weekend I've decided to do a so called "JVMS 6" where I'll be traveling 60 km in 60 hours only carrying 6 objects. You can read more about the method by clicking HERE.
It's a beautiful and peaceful Midsummer morning. I'm in my pickup truck heading out to the Cabin to start my adventure. This is the first time I evaluate my method's theory in a practical way. Therefore I've chosen to execute the training session in the outback's of my cabin, giving me a safety line if I've calculated something terribly wrong. Will be interesting to see if my idea JVMS holds up or if I need to audit the formula after this weekend. When I close the door of my truck the only thing I here is the birds celebrating Summer is here. Time to put on the little gear I'm bringing before heading off. I've prepared a 60 km long circular rout taking me around the beautiful Roslagen and back to the Cabin. After publishing JVMS about a year ago I soon got to know the nice and dedicated family of bushcraft and survival enthusiasts. Thanks for all inspiration and advice! Before I left home I eat a robust breakfast and now when the clock turns 09:00 am my three day adventure begins.
As many of you announced your interest in following me on this trip by Facebook I'm bringing my smart phone for documentation. I post my best Midsummer wishes and this get to be the official starting signal of JVMS Midsummer Survival. when I wonder off into the woods I go as Good created me plus the below six objects.
3. Drinking bottle
The gear; six objects
My choice of clothing; only a jumpsuit and a pair of boots (no socks or shorts) has made many of you warning me of rashes (abrasion) in different places. Personally it's my feet I know will be suffering on Sunday night when I hope my empty stomach can go home for some dinner. As I'm doing this hike all by my self I need to take safety seriously. Therefore I'm bringing a safety kit containing first aid bandage, a fully charged cellphone and a C-A-T. This safety kit (a lid hip bag from a Osprey Aether 70) is only to be used if in sincere danger.
After a short hike trough the forest I reach a beautiful field. As I pass it along a small river I stumble upon a carcass of a roe deer. This is a good reminder that I need to boil all my water before drinking during the next three days.
Peace be with her
The sun and the soft wind caresses the green field. "This is a great way to spend my Midsummer weekend" I'm thinking to myself as I enjoying the view. I can imagine I'm not the only one appreciating this weather. Allot of Swedes are right now preparing for this weekend's celebration. Once back into the woods it strikes me how harsh the vegetation is. The terrain is much tougher than I thought and this is not good for the time frame. When I look at the sun I can see that I'm all ready behind schedule. But I keep on it and enjoy the magnificent scenery. I would say the temperature is about +25°C (+77°F) and this in combination with the demanding terrain is taking it's told. Therefore it's very nice when the horizon start to show the lake I wanna reach.
A welcomed sight
I cool my feet in the small lake and as I take my last zip from my drinking bottle I study a pair of birds nesting in a high pine tree by the water. I think they are osprey and the magnificent birds try to lure me from the nest to protect their offspring. Therefore I don't stay around too long, I don't wanna disturb too much. It's amazing how close I get the game when trekking without bulky gear. So far I've already meet a surprised roe buck, a beautiful viper and I've also heard a big group of wild boar rumble through the bush. By the way; there's a lot of signs of wild bore in the area.
After some hiking I reach the next lake where I decide to rest for the evening. Feels very nice to start this training session's first fire using the birch tinder I've collected on the way. Now I can take off my boots and boil my longed for water. No dough it's easier keeping proper liquid levels when hiking up North, compared to these Midlands. In the North I usually drink the water directly from the springs without boiling it.
Healing for one's soul
The training session's first fire
I'd hoped to have covered 30 km by now but as I study the map I can see I'm behind schedule by 10 clicks. My plan is to cover 30 km day one, 20 km day two and the last 10 km on day three. This way I reduce the intensity as my body gets tired. Instead of sleeping I decide to just rest a while and then do some night hiking to get back on schedule. But first I have some boiling to do.
At midnight I start my walking trough the magic forest of the Midsummer night. The woods are extremely quiet and it's amazingly beautiful when the moon guides me through big spruce and over clear-cuts. The temperature's nice, feels like +10°C (+50°F), and as I feel strong I can pound on pretty hard to cover some distance. I get to meet more roe deer and also an elegant fox allowing me watch as he hut down it's pray. Suddenly I hear a crack and a enormous bull moose is staring at me from the forest edge.
A big bull moose gets my attention
Moon light hike in the Midsummer night
The sun starts rising, I've covered the distance I hoped for and I have no trouble sleeping in the morning sun. As I'm under a tight schedule to manage the 60 km in 60 hours I'm not planing on building any advanced shelters on this session. Instead I just find a dry spot and lay down. But its nice to be able to pull up my hood when the temperature and the mosquitoes get too ambitious.
World's largest bedroom
Some hours later I wake up to a nice and cloudy sky; perfect hiking conditions. The hiking flows nicely as the terrain isn't as tough today. Despite soar feet and an empty stomach I'm truly enjoying this refreshing environment. Its a privilege to walk this beautiful land all alone. So far I've only eaten a handful of berries. Time to collect some carbs and vitamins, dandelion roots and pine, for tonight's fire.
Dandelion roots and pine tea
As the second day sets I collect as much wood as possible to keep warm all night. But before sleep I entertain myself by trying to catch a pair of bats on camera. The night turns out OK but the sleep is shallow as I don't want my fire to die.
Hard to get
As I gratefully welcome this adventure's last sunrise I'm happy only to have 10 km left to hike. My body has now adapted to starvation so I don't feel hungry anymore. My head feels a bit mushy from the lack of sleep and food but my step feels surprisingly light considering.
Beautiful sunrise day three
So the last day, time has flown. But I suspect this is because the beautiful sights and my focus on the mission. I get a bit wistful but mostly relieved when the Cabin is starting to show in the horizon. I made it, and before schedule! The sun say it's in the middle of the day so I get to spend the rest of the day on the Cabin's land to await the Clock to strike 09:00 pm. This feels nice; as my hiking now is done I can be able to dry my sore feet by the fire and get some sleep. I start this adventure's last fire and doze off to the soothing flames. After waking up I put some more wood on the fire and continue to stair into the warming fire. Feels great to quietly reflect on what an amazing experience this has been. I'm truly grateful to have been able to do this.
Starting the last fire of the adventure
Times up; with content I now officially end JVMS Midsummer Survival. In the truck on my way home I summarize my weekend; what have I learned?
Nutrition, Fluid and Energy
JVMS simulates a survival situation when I must take the decision to move and find help. If I know help is just a couple of days away; in my opinion focus should be on staying hydrated, on the move and keeping warm. Chewing on something is good for moral but collecting food is time consuming. In another scenario where I decide to stay put and let help find me I would have another focus. I then would spend time preparing signaling fires, building shelter, collecting food and attending my hygiene.
On JVMS Midsummer Survival I didn't eat mush at all. Unfortunately the berries wasn't ready yet. Otherwise these are a nice and refreshing snack. I memorized everything I ate during my 60 hours:
1 hand of berries (wild strawberry and blueberry)
1 hand of dandelion roots
10 clover flowers
6,5 liters of water
0,5 liter pine tea
Considering the amount of physical activity I probably should have drunken more. But I wanted to boil this areas water before drinking it. Therefore I basically filled up my fluids when I had a fire going.
In total during this three day adventure I only slept for 7 hours and rested (eyed closed) for 3 hours.
Considering the above I felt pretty good by the end of the session. Of course I was effected by the sun, hiking, deprivation and starvation, but not as much as I expected if you had asked me during day two. I guess my interest in the subject and some adrenaline also made a difference. But it's amazing how the human body copes in a situation like this. When I started on Friday morning I weigh 83 kg, Sunday night when I got home I weigh 78 kg. I lost 5 kg in three days. This is the same weight loss I've experienced in earlier similar trainings. Sunday night's late and long dinner consisted of sushi, pizza and fika. It's a nice feeling when my body starts absorbing the nutrition. Just 15 minutes after the first bite the buzz starts in fingers, feet and then the hole body. Then I get tired in a nice way.
JVMS - the Method
Regarding the method JVMS I think the theory holds up. My two main lessons learned from this "JVMS 6" is:
1. Its easier to keep an equal and more feet friendly hiking tempo if you exactly know how long it takes to cover the area's terrain. This weekend's rout was partly unknown to me as I hadn't walked it before. I underestimated the terrain when I sat by the computer planing the stretch. Seeing the terrain live made me concerned about the time frame and I started rushing causing blisters and fatigue. And then I ended up reaching my "goal" about eight hours early. However I don't wanna audit the JVMS formula by adding time. If in a real survival situation, and I decide to move, I probably don't know the area either.
2. I should have traded the knife against a pair of socks. I thought these light boots that fitted my feet so good would only give me moderate blisters. But instead my feet got considerably more sore cos the lack of socks. An alternative had been choosing a hiking sandal but then I'd been more concerned about the intense vegetation and the fact that I couldn't always see where I put my feet among vipers and stinging nettles. So if I would do this again in the same area I would change the knife to a pair of socks and trade the firesteel against a regular lighter. On JVMS Midsummer Survival I never build any shelters and basically only used the knife to light the fire, together with the firesteel. And to be honest I could have coped just fine with just a lighter. Even though this hurts me to say as I'm a true knife romantic.
When I move around nature in this manner; with almost no gear at all, my focus and feeling get different compared to a "regular" hike. I cant help but feeling more animal like. A good reminded of us all being creatures living in the same nature. Although this adventure was harsh I truly enjoyed it in a peaceful way.
I hope JVMS can inspire you to do similar adventures. Perhaps you and a couple of friends should do a "JVMS 12" during this summer? If so; please let me know how you experienced your adventure. All feedback and input is welcomed!
You can also see me doing a JVMS 5 in winter time by clicking HERE.