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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. .


Can’t beat beans, bacon and bread
By Will Maines

IT MAY BE a figment of my imagination, but I do believe that the very best meals I have ever eaten in my life have been cooked over an open campfire. Whether it be on a hunting expedition, fishing trip, camping outing or just a plain old picnic, food tastes better when one eats it while watching waves lap upon the shore of a quiet lake or along a roistering trout stream or in a duck blind or in the shadow of a Rocky Mountains peak.

I was introduced to campfire dinners at a young age when my dad and I would head out on overnight trout fishing expeditions either to Upper Michigan or the fabled trout streams of Wisconsin’s northwest, most notably the Bois Brule.

Understand that I was a little kid who thought peanut butter and

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 11:24 AM
 
The Birkie won, I lost
By Will Maines

EVERY AMERICAN Birkebeiner has its own stories, and this year’s edition had its share. The story really began late Thursday afternoon when a blizzard blew into Hayward and Cable that buried the 54-kilometer course under 13 inches of snow.
Every one of us who would take off from the start line Saturday morning knew what we would be in for — a skier-eating monster of a course — and yet when the gun went off for the first elite

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:02 PM
 
What happened to one and done?
By Will Maines

READY OR NOT, three days after this is published I will be at the start line, along with 10,299 other cross-country skiers, of the 41st annual American Birkebeiner.

With any luck, somewhere around six hours after the gun goes off for my sixth wave Classic start, I will trudge up Main Street in Hayward and complete my 19th Birkie.

Who wudda thunk it? My first Birkebeiner was in 1984, back when we still skied from Hayward to Telemark Lodge near Cable, and if all had gone according to plan, it would have been my first and only Birkie.

When I signed up to do the Birkie that year,

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:31 PM
 
Long live the new queen
By Will Maines

NOTHING BEATS an early morning ice fishing trip in February — unless it’s 22 below.
That’s what it was last Saturday for the Plum Lake ice fishing tournament, but you know what, that didn’t stop about 240 anglers from heading out to the frozen tundra.
I wasn’t about to begin my day at 6 a.m. by setting tip-ups and turning my fingers into icicles, but I did amble on down to the lake a little before 8.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 2:23 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, February 11, 2014 2:25 PM )
 
The outdoors is my only drug
By Will Maines

IF YOU ARE into Hollywood stars, the sad news last weekend was that one of the big “stars” died of a drug overdose.
I recognized his name and knew that he once won an Academy Award, but to my knowledge I never watched a movie he was in. Nonetheless, I felt bad that an actor who apparently possessed a good deal of talent in his field should die young because of drugs.
Felt bad, yes, but harsh as it may sound, I felt no sympathy. Going all the way back to college when drugs, especially marijuana, were abundant on college campuses, I have hated drugs and have had no use or sympathy for anyone using them.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014 1:03 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, February 04, 2014 2:46 PM )
 
Winter cold is all relative
By Will Maines

I HAVE LIVED in this cold north Wisconsin country all my life, and seldom have I ever seen a winter which so delights in cold temperatures and continuous snowfall.

That is not to say I haven’t seen worse, I have. I can think of other winters, mostly back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that were tougher than this one.

It would be hard to match the year I came home from college for semester break and shoveled roofs to make enough beer money to last out the second semester.

One of my shoveling jobs was at Molgaard’s restaurant

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:51 AM
 
It’s good news week
By Will Maines

DOES ANYONE remember a 1966 song entitled, “It’s Good News Week?” How about that unforgettable ’60s group, the inimitable Hedgehoppers Anonymous?

Ah, didn’t think so, but I thought of them this week, or at least I remembered the song. It rose to No. 3 on the Chicago charts but didn’t get anywhere on the Billboard Hot 100 as it was banned in several areas of the country. However, it did chart No. 5 on the United Kingdom, or as they were otherwise known, British charts.

Okay, ’60s music trivia lesson is now concluded. The purpose of the lesson,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:48 AM
 
Fewer birds eat more seeds
By Will Maines

SAY WHAT YOU will about the weather, but there is no doubt this winter is for the birds — in more ways than one.

Like many people of north Wisconsin, my wife and I have enjoyed feeding birds during the winter months ever since we built our house in 1980. In all that time I do not believe I have ever seen a winter when the birds at our feeders have eaten so much, so fast.

And the thing is it’s a lot fewer birds doing the eating than in a normal winter.

From what I’ve heard we’re not the only people seeing fewer birds and fewer species of birds

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:10 PM
 
We nearly killed the Rambler
By Will Maines

ALTHOUGH I HAVE  spent my entire life calling the north country of Wisconsin home, I must admit I did spend five of the best years of my life calling the campus of Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire my home away from home.

Eau Claire and the surrounding area provided me with a host of pleasant memories, with only a few exceptions like an educational psychology course and a Spanish 101 course, both of which I had to take but had no interest in whatsoever.

Many of my best memories came from prowling around the woods and waters of Eau Claire and Chippewa counties where the trout were large and both small and big game were plentiful.

Last weekend I prowled around one of my favorite areas from that time;

Tuesday, January 07, 2014 12:10 PM
 
Amen and pass the whiskey
By Will Maines

I AM NOT one given to complaining, but dadgum it, it is cold outside. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but it seems like 10 below is the equivalent of 35 below when I was a teenager. Whatever the case, I’m liking this below zero stuff less and less each winter.

That said, I continue to get outside doing the things I’ve always done, just with a little more complaining to go with it.

Last weekend was a nice reprieve, and I took advantage of it to get in a long ski on Saturday, about a half-Birkie, which is really good for me at this stage of winter.

This week may be a different story, at least until Saturday when things are supposed to warm up a little.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 9:49 AM
 
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