Mooner's Hollow Trail - This trail follows the narrow; steep valley of Coonville Creek and its many rugged tributaries in Coonville Creek Natural Area. It is so named because of the past activity of moonshiners in the area. The “bootleggers” found Coonville Creek’s cold, clear springs and deep isolated valleys to be the perfect location for their stills. You will encounter a moderately-difficult trail with a few steep hills and a couple of water crossings. Probably St. Francois’s most scenic trail, Mooner’s Hollow Trail includes dolomite glades, hilltop vistas and a cascading waterfall. Listed at 2.75 miles (it is a loop trail) - the signage can not be right! Our taking our time hike was 6 hours!
Happy hiker at the start of the hike - we were whipped at the end of 6 hours!
We saw a good variety of things including: Swamp Metalmarks, Striped Hairstreak, Northern Pearly Eye, Little Wood-Satyr, tons of Great Sprangled Fritillary, good looks at an Ovenbird and Female and Juvenile Summer Tanager.
Big boulders strewn along parts of the trail. Wonder how they got there?
Place names in the area give an idea of another part of the local cultural heritage. Many residents can still remember the moonshine stills that flourished in Mooner’s Hollow. Coonville Creek, which runs through Mooner’s Hollow, was a good source of cold, clear water – one of the most valuable ingredients for making good moonshine. According to local custom, it is called moonshine because "it seemed to work out better if concocted in the night under the light of an Ozark moon."
Silvery Checkerspot - Common butterfly found in moist woodland openings and along streams, flying low and perching close to the ground. Its larger than a Pearl Crescent.
Swamp Metalmark - we saw multiple ones. Decided if it hadn't been cloudy and overcast we probably would have been more.
Swamp Metmark with wings closed