I learned a lesson on Saturday about firestarting.
The sunny, humid day followed a rainy foggy day and I was in a wooded valley north of Oakville. I brought my knife and firesteel - and after we hiked in a while we settled down at an old site where it looks like a party had taken place - beer cans, bags etc... laying all around. I grabbed some leaf litter and tried to spark a fire. There was not a birch tree in sight - this would have done it straigh-away. It took about 20 frustrating minutes to get a successful flame - it kept starting and quickly dying in the leaf tinder. Finally after much crouching, scraping, sparking and searching for tinder, the fire started and our campfire burned hot for about an hour before we left. Monty chased chipmunks and curiously splashed through and up the creek.
We burned the paper and tidied up the garbage for the trek out.
Lesson - bring tinder supply in a box - lint, cotton wool, compressed wood fibre and wax etc... as you never know when the weather will turn. Getting kindling is always easy, it is the tinder that is the tricky part.