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Will Maines

Trails & Tales

Will Maines is a native of the North Woods and an avid outdoorsman.
He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The bullets went in the campfire
By Will Maines

THERE IS A LAKE I like to visit which, for today’s purposes, shall be referred to simply as “The Lake.”
When I sit along its shores I can see, if not literally, at least quite clearly in my mind, a lifetime of good memories.
I have been coming to The Lake for a long, long time, upwards of 60 years, and each time I visit I can look back to a host of good times, a milestone achievement or two and a lot of good, plain juvenile fun, even if some of that juvenile fun occurred decades after I passed through my juvenile years.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 2:54 PM
Don’t miss calls of the wild
By Will Maines

WHEN YOU LIVE in the North Country, you don’t have to stray far from home to hear the call of the wild.
Just exactly what is the call of the wild is open for debate, but for me it is all the wonderful sounds of nature you can hear; wind through the pines, red-winged blackbirds trilling in the cattails or whatever other wild sound strikes your fancy.
I know that many people —  the risk of sounding stereotypical, mostly tree huggers — will claim the howling of a timber wolf is the true sound of the wild. Me, I’m not much for timber wolves.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 2:52 PM
It’s always good to get a U.P. fix
By Will Maines

EVERYTHING IS good with the world today. I have had my Upper Peninsula (U.P.) “fix,” and I am now ready to face the world once again.
OK, so it’s nothing as dramatic as that, but then again, a fix of the U.P. is always good no matter what ails you, even if nothing at all ails you.
No matter where a person lives, it’s always a good thing to occasionally wander afield to see something different. The North Dakota prairie pothole hunter needs to hunt the flooded timbers of Arkansas every now and then; the Montana mountain man likes to see what the Louisiana bayou looks like now and then; and yes, the guy who’s lucky enough to live in the great North Woods of Wisconsin needs to spend a little time in the U.P. every now and then.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 2:18 PM
Life is a smorgasbord of fishing
By Will Maines

LIFE IS A smorgasbord of fishing. If a fisherman spent his entire life looking, I do not believe he could find a place offering more variety and better quality of fishing and fishing lakes than what we have right here in the north country of Wisconsin.
As Exhibit A I present last weekend, a weekend I enjoyed to the fullest with expeditions on three different bodies of water fishing for three different species of fish.
I began my weekend of fishing with an outing Friday afternoon on a small lake somewhere up in the Manitowish Waters country looking for largemouth bass.   I slid the Old Town into breeze-rippled water several miles from the middle of nowhere and spent the next two hours serenely drifting from one end to the other of a small lake mostly surrounded by pines.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:51 PM
The path to glory and girls
By Will Maines

WHEN?I?WAS a little kid living in the boonies of the North Woods, there were only two means of transportation.
You could walk a mile to your nearest neighbor’s house, which in my case was Uncle Neal’s house, but once you attained a certain age it wasn’t very cool to walk.
To be cool you had to have a bicycle to get from one place to the other, preferably a bike which could and did jump stumps, rocks and trees, with varying degrees of success.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:41 PM
These five are tops with me
By Will Maines

READERS OF THE Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports section have a unique opportunity to participate in a fun survey each week in which they get to pick a top five of all time in one sports-related topic or another.
Recently the topic was all-time greatest female athletes. My top-five list, interestingly enough, differed by only one woman from the list chosen to be printed by the editors. Mine included gymnast Mary Lou Retton, basketball player Cheryl Miller, speed skater Bonnie Blair, sprinter Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith-Joyner and the woman I consider the greatest of the greatest, Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:22 PM
We will never forget our heroes
By Will Maines

THE MILWAUKEE Brewers played a baseball game Sunday. I watched a few innings as they lost — again. Big deal.
Indy cars roared around the famous brickyard in Indianapolis at 220 mph Sunday and stock cars ran around a track in North Carolina at 200 mph Sunday evening. Someone won both races. Big deal.
On Monday, at communities all over the United States, people gathered at cemeteries and monuments to honor the servicemen and -women who sacrificed everything, including their lives, to give us the freedom to enjoy watching baseball players and race car drivers do their thing. That is a really big deal!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 6:25 PM
My junk will be your treasure
By Will Maines

IN THE time-honored tradition of the North Woods, this weekend I will be joining hundreds, nay thousands, who will either be selling or buying at garbage — er, garage — sales all over the countryside.
I won’t be buying, as someone else’s junk is seldom my treasure. Instead I will be selling, trying to convince as many people as possible that my junk is their treasure.
Since I am committed to a garbage sale, I figured it would be a good thing to start getting a few things together which would make a treasure for someone. My little classified ad states that I will have fishing tackle, so right now I am concentrating on figuring out just what it is I can bear to part with from the 14 tackle boxes and 17 five-gallon pails I have filled with invaluable fishing “stuff.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 2:51 PM
Blame it on a phone call
By Will Maines

THIS MAY SEEM like a strange time to talk about snow and cold and skiing but, hey, it’s only mid-May; who knows if we’ve seen the last of the white stuff?
Okay, so it’s pretty unlikely we’ll see any snow until at least September but, despite that fact, there is a good reason I’m thinking about snow.
Blame it on a phone call. This phone call came from someone about 9,000 miles away who has had far weightier things on his mind for the last nine months, and is just now finding time to think about things like snow and cross-country skiing and the American Birkebeiner.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2:54 PM
The case of the missing opener
By Will Maines

YOU COULD CALL iit the “Case of the Missing Opener.” As mysteries go, it wouldn’t amount to much, but a movie of that name would explain how I managed to miss an opening day of the Wisconsin fishing season for the first time since Hector was a pup.
While countless other people enjoyed a great day of sunshine — unexpected —and fish catching — expected — on the water, I settled for working all day and doling out about 4 gazillion dozen minnows and a large number of worms, crawlers and leeches.
I could have gone fishing in the evening, which I had every intention of doing, but about the time I planned on going my wife and several good friends put a rope around my neck and dragged me off to the Sayner Pub.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 2:59 PM

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