Observing the Lunar Eclipse at Hercules Glades Wilderness Area
It had been well over a year since my last visit to the Hercules Glades Wilderness Area and the recent Lunar Eclipse gave me a perfect excuse to visit one of my favorite places in the Ozarks. I only had enough time to enjoy a quick overnight at the Glades but I was very excited to observe the Lunar Eclipse/Blood Moon/Super Moon event. This particular combination had last occurred in 1982 and would not appear again until 2033.
Early signs were pointing to an overcast night and a fear of the moon being obscured by the clouds weighed heavily on our minds as we packed our overnight bags in preparation. We departed mid afternoon with hopes of hiking in and setting up camp before moon rise. Hercules Glades is an easy 1 hour drive from Springfield and we were able to set up camp and collect fire wood before the moon began to rise on the horizon. Hercules Glades offers a large number of glade tops with nearly unobstructed views of the surrounding valleys, perfect for stargazing, watching thunderstorms roll through in the distance, and of course watching a Lunar Eclipse.
We decided to take a very easy hike to one of my favorite glade tops in the wilderness area. This glade top, an off shoot of the Pees Hollow Trail loop, offers nearly 270 degrees of unobstructed views of the surroundings. As the sun started to set, the clouds began to clear and clear skies emerged. Like clockwork the moon appeared on the horizon right around 7pm and the eclipse began around 8:10pm.
With my camera set up on a tripod, I was able to capture the progression of the Lunar Eclipse as it unfolded in front of us.
While taking pictures, I was surprised at how quickly it moved through the night sky and had to keep readjusting my camera every 5 minutes or so to keep up with it. As the eclipse took over more and more of the moon, our shadows that were once clearly visible with the Super Moon were no longer visible. As the deep red of the Blood Moon set in, the stars of the Milky Way began to pop in the dark backdrop of the night sky.
We couldn’t have asked for a better night to view this rare event or a better place so close to Springfield. As the eclipse faded out the Super Moon began once again to shine. Around 11:30pm the moon was back to full strength and we headed off to bed, but not before putting on the rain fly for our tents to block out the brightness of the moon so that we could get a good night sleep. Want to know more about Hercules Glades? Check out our hiking & backpacking section for driving directions and maps of the area.