A couple years ago, Tim bought a flint and magnesium stick from REI and we tried to make a fire on a camping trip. We never got much more than a spark. Luckily Tim carries a butane torch to coax campfires to life so we weren’t left in the dark.
On this last weekend’s camping trip with the in-laws, I decided to give it another shot. I picked up that same magnesium survival fire starter. We took a hike to the top of Thunder Knob and along the way I found some stuff hanging from the pine trees that I thought would work. I wish I knew what it was called but I remember seeing it on one of those survival shows on Discovery. Anyway, it’s green, hangs from the branches, and it looks like long clumps of string. I collected a handful of it and later that night I decided to humiliate myself in front of the family.
I scraped off some magnesium shavings with a knife into the green stuff that I had collected, lined up the edge of the flint with the shavings and with a single stroke, the whole thing caught fire!
Ok, so making fire without a match isn’t that impressive, but it was the first time I’ve ever done it. Thinking back to our previous attempt, we didn’t have anything good for the magnesium to ignite. I’m going to look around for an outdoor survival class that would teach you these kind of basic skills localized to the environment of the Pacific Northwest.