The East Tennessee hiking community mourns ‘Smoky Mountain Jedi’

After a brief battle with brain cancer, Mike Maples passed away on March 5 at 66 years old. Maples obituary says he spent, “hours, days, weeks and years” hiking in the Smoky Mountains. Maples was also the author of several books about the history of the park and the people who called the land home. Over the years, Maples shared the trail with hundreds of other hikers, who shared memories and photos of the beloved hiker in a Facebook group dedicated to hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after his death. “Mike Maples was a Smoky Mountain hiking icon and he was loved by so many people,” friend and hiker Joe Guenther told 10News. His family will receive friends from 4-6pm on Saturday, March 9 at the Ball Camp Baptist Church in Knoxville. The funeral will follow. Donations can be made in Maples’ honor to Friends of the Smokies.

Fire destroys part of Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood

In late February, a fire ripped through the UK’s Ashdown Forest, the inspiration behind Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. The forest was hit by two fires that started within an hour of each other, burning 90 acres of land. February 2019 was Britain’s warmest on record and firefighters say that the unusually warm weather meant that the ground was drier than usual, leading to a greater risk of wildfires. AA Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, had a country home just north of Ashdown Forest. His son, Christopher Robin Milne, would often explore the forest. The stories in Winnie the Pooh reference specific areas of the forest.