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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. .

Don’t take this land for granted
By Will Maines

LIKE A LOT of people, I sometimes tend to take this great North Woods country of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan for granted.
When you’ve been surrounded all your life by hundreds of lakes and miles of forest that is your playground for the taking, you forget what a privilege that is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:33 PM
Ice tradition continues to thrive
By Will Maines

COME WINTER, the North Woods of Wisconsin and ice fishing tournaments have become synonymous. Old-fashioned fishing jamborees have been around for a long time, mostly put on by local civic clubs to raise money for their community projects.
Three Lakes has had one forever, while Phelps holds a couple of good ones; Conover, a kids’ event; Land O’ Lakes, at least one tourney; St. Germain, one that benefits the Plum Lake Emergency Medical Services; and Sayner-Star Lake, a really good one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 3:57 PM
Believe it or not, spring is here
By Will Maines

HAVE YOU looked around lately? Have you noticed that without warning springtime has arrived?
Don’t be fooled, spring is here whether you believe it or not.
No, it has nothing to do with the ridiculous January temperatures we’ve been seeing which keep threatening to reach 40 and beyond. And it has nothing to do with the fact we’ve only got about a half-foot of snow in the woods.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:46 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:51 PM )
To snow or not to snow
By Will Maines

WINTER IS HERE. Finally. If you like snow blown on northers straight from the Arctic, and temperatures dangling down near zero in the morning, then you have gotten what you wanted — for a few days anyhow.
The heavier white stuff may not have gotten here in time for a lot of businesses who badly wanted and needed it through Christmas week, but as is the case with most things in life, better late than never.
Weather is, despite the current temperature, a hot topic around here where snow is considered white gold and, when we don’t get enough of it early enough, the talk always turns to global warming, El Niño, El Niña and anything else that has to do with the perceived disruption of longtime winter patterns in the North Woods.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012 4:02 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, January 03, 2012 4:05 PM )
2011, we hardly knew ye
By Will Maines

AH, 2011, WE HARDLY knew ye.
Just yesterday we were shooting up fireworks and exchanging champagne toasts as the midnight clock rang in the first seconds of your first day.
Now, in just a few brief days, you will be gone, consigned to the same place all the years of history have gone, to the vagaries of our memories.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 1:47 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 28, 2011 2:01 PM )
The greatest gift of all
By Will Maines

I was watching a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel the other night starring Richard Thomas, better known, perhaps, as John-Boy Walton.
The name of the movie was “The Christmas Box,” and one of the lines that struck me as particularly relevant was a question posed to Thomas by Maureen O’Hara, whose character, the elderly owner of a Christmas box asked, “Of all the Christmas gifts, what was the first gift of Christmas?”
The question was the crux of the movie and, because the characters played by Thomas and O’Hara had a difficult time initially in establishing a relationship, it took Thomas most of the second half of the movie to figure out the correct answer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 3:26 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:30 PM )
Give me a wooly mammoth hide
By Will Maines

SOMETIMES I THINK the cavemen had it right.
Take camping, for instance. Cavemen lived an entire lifetime in a permanent state of camping out. Their “tents” ranged anywhere from semipermanent caves to overnight shelters underneath the sweeping branches of a blowdown pine to, in somewhat later days, a crude hut of woven sticks thatched with grass or, if lucky, animal hides.

Fire was a newfangled invention and, once they had it, it must have seemed a wonderful thing for Trog and Uma to sit around a campfire on a lonely night with a fire throwing sparks in the air while the amorous couple made sparks of their own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:09 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:32 PM )
It's a good time to be a Badger
By Will Maines

It’s a good time to be a Badger.
I’m not talking about the wild critter Wisconsin is famous for, nor the badger which serves as this state’s flagship university mascot, nor the athletic teams of the state, but about you and me and all the other Badgers who proudly call Wisconsin home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011 6:21 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:33 PM )
No fence could keep me out
By Will Maines

BUILD A FENCE and they will come.
It worked when Kevin Costner built a ball park in a corn field, and now, apparently, it has worked— extremely well — for the American Birkebeiner.
I began skiing the Birkie in 1984, entering it the year it hit an all-time participant record of, as I recall, more than 7,500 skiers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:35 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:34 PM )
Is that all there is? You bet!


By Will Maines

IS THAT all there is? Peggy Lee, one of the most renowned female singers in American history, famously asked that question in her rendition of the song of that name.

And for a little history lesson for those of you under the age of 40 — Peggy Lee was born in 1920 and performed into the 1990s before passing away in 2002.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:26 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:56 PM )

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