Lighting a fire in difficult conditions

During my trip with Odd we decided to try and get a real fire going, despite having brought cooking sets. Lighting a fire in the fjäll or mountains was an absolute new for me. The conditions in case up there were wet, windy and just below the treeline. It had been raining plenty in the previous period up until the day before and everything was really soaked.

We found a spot on the lee side of a small canyon or crevice and there were plenty of stunted trees and shrubs growing there. So we set out to find some material to get a fire going and keeping it that way. The first thing I always look for is birchbark. Preferably the one that is already peeling away as it tends to be drier already. I found a birch that had broken off and sure enough there was bark. So I took some pieces, scraped them clean from moist rotten wood on the inside and soaked lichen on the outside. Lichen literally was everywhere!! And it holds moisture like a sponge, so you want to get rid of it! Then the bark went into my thigh pockets, so that it could dry as I was looking for more.
Then we proceeded gathering firewood. There were mainly birch and juniper. Like I said there was lichen everywhere and especially the birch branches were covered in it. So I considered those to be less of an option, except for a few that had broken branches on them. Those were more exposed to the wind and felt less wet to the touch.
The juniper on the other hand had a lot of upright branches and quite a few of them were bare; no bark and no lichen. Still they felt a little damp, but I figured that they would dry rather fast and that the inside would be dry anyway. So we gathered a bunch of those in several sizes.

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