Didn’t get much sleep after last night earthquake action but
the jungle was looking beautiful again as the rain broke and the sun came up. Saw
a few huge blue butterflies with a super bright blue color on one side, looked
like something out of dystopian sci fi movie. Turns out they are the Blue
Morpho butterfly and have a wingspan of up to 15cm. Was nice to see those as
we hiked out with our gear for one last breakfast at base camp. Said goodbye and
thanks to all the crew at Finca Bellavista and got a
ride to the Golfito airport to get back on a 12 seat plane to San Jose airport.
From San Jose to Panama then back to good old Chicago. Landed back home to 20
degree weather, quite a change in one day. I had such an amazing trip, saw so
many plants, animals, birds, bugs and everything in between. A huge thanks to
Jeroen and The Jaunt for having me go on this adventure for them. I’m very grateful to have had
this opportunity and am very inspired by what I saw all week. It was so different
from my normal studio days so I’m excited to see
what inspiration comes from it this week. Also thanks to my old friend Jared Eberhardt for
meeting me out there and thanks for the good photos of our trip, It would have
been a tough trip to pull off solo. Also turns out after speaking to some of
locals that the snake we stumbled upon on the trail is very poisonous (and the
bite is known to cause progressive paralysis), so a lesson to all the
kids out there to not mess with snakes you find in the jungle.
Above Photo: Jared Eberhardt
Couple leaf studies from the tree house night sessions.
Another good morning of bird sounds and plants and light. Hiked to basecamp for breakfast of home made tortillas and cheese with some fresh fruit. The night before the crew at Finca Bellavista mentioned they had some zip lines set up around the property if we wanted to get a different view of the river. It’s not something I have done before but seemed hard to pass up. Pretty nice to see the river we had been hiking down the day before from a different perspective. Also they mentioned if you hiked upstream there was another waterfall to see.
We packed a lunch and headed that way for the afternoon. 20 minutes into the hike we saw a Coati (A raccoon like animal) run by us on a fallen log. The river hike got a little deeper and before we knew it we were waist deep in water to get through some parts of it. We had learned from the last few days that there wasn’t much use trying to stay dry here so we kept going. Every turn of the river was more interesting than the last with the different ways the river had cut through the rocks over the years, some larger pools, some tighter spaces like canyons.
As we hiked into one of the darker areas about 40 bats flew out to either scare us away or try to high five our heads. Ate some beans, rice and chicken on a nice flat area and about 30 minutes later made it to the waterfall. Pretty beat from hiking all we day we crashed pretty early and woke up to the house shaking at 3:38 am only to realize it was an small earthquake. Not going to lie to you, that scared the shit out of me. We don’t get much of that in the Midwest. Might be time to head home soon…
Woke to the sound of the river in the distance and birds calling. Not a bad way to start the day. Hiked to base camp for a special treat of banana chocolate chip nut pancakes. Packed up a lunch and headed for a long hike around the edge of the property. Found some red ochre on the side of a hill. I grabbed a few pieces of it to try to make something with it later.
Stopped by to see where they grow most of the food we have been eating all week. Pretty cool to see how much fruit and veg they are able to grow in a small area. Headed to the river and found a spot to eat our lunch (a fried cheese and tomato sandwich and some plantain chips). It was a little high since it’s the end of rainy season but looked pretty calm. We hiked for a bit down river and quickly realized it was a little deeper than we thought when the water sped up a bit and went up over our boots. Since our boots were already filled with water we gave up on dry feet and hiked the rest of the way to the waterfall in the river.
Headed back to the tree house to try dry off a bit but after a few days are realizing that its so humid once certain pieces of clothing (like cotton tshirts or socks) get wet they pretty much stay wet for days. Glad I brought extra socks and shirts. While drying out our gear we got our daily rainstorm as it poured for about 45 minutes. After dinner at base camp went back to the tree house (and ran into the largest frog I have ever seen in my life) and attempted to make a few paintings on leaves I had collected earlier. Painting by headlamp lighting at night was a little tricky but I might attempt to paint a few more during daylight tomorrow to see if like come out better.
Hiked into basecamp for some beans, rice and eggs. Checked
in with the outside world then packed a lunch and headed out to hike for the
day. Walked for an hour or so and got to a nice look out point with the remains
of an old picnic table. Sat down for a bit and did some field study plant
drawings in the sun while a toucan flew over head. So much vegetation and
amazing plants everywhere. Taking lots of photos of stuff to try and draw
later. Hiked back out and headed down trail 13 toward the river to find a spot
to eat. Ran into lots of frogs and a chill little snake. Made it on to some
rocks by the river and started eating our epic chicken and rice burritos packed
for us by the crew at Finca Bellavista. Almost finished eating before the daily
rain kicked in. Finished up lunch in the rain while watching the river slowly rise
in front of us then headed back to the tree house. Spent most of the night
hanging in the tree house talking with Jared and making a few small painting
studies on paper.
Pretty amazing flight to be that close and watch everything happening as they flew. Felt like a very loud video game. Landed at a small airstrip that looked like a road and climbed off the plane and jumped in a 4×4 waiting for us 25 feet from the plane. After an hour of rough roads we ended up at our final destination.
Finca Bellavista is an off the grid tree house community situated in the mountainous south Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica, called the Southern Zone.
Hung out a bit with the crew there then hiked about 25 minutes into the jungle to check out our space for the week – El Castillo Mastate. Ran into a bunch of frogs on our way back to the tree house and ran into a bigger surprise as I climbed up the steps to my room back at the tree house. As I looked around the room with my headlamp and was getting ready to put my gear down I saw a decent sized snake curled up across from the bed. Since I’m not much of a snake expert and she didn’t look like she wanted me to try and move her I quickly headed back down the steps and back across the rope bridge and crashed for the night in the connected cabin Jared was staying in. Pretty exciting first day and looking forward to having a full day exploring out here tomorrow.
Cody Hudson posting here….. Very excited to kick off this project with The
Jaunt. Left Chicago on a cold Sunday AM, short layover in Panama then flew into
San Jose airport in Costa Rica. After a quick night in San Jose (and meeting up
there with old friend Jared Eberhardt who flew in from Los Angeles) we headed
back to the airport to fly to Golfito to head out to the jungle. I have been on
some pretty small planes but not like this. We boarded the 12 seat plane and
grabbed a seat right behind the pilot and copilot.
Final day in Nida working at the Nida Art Colony who have generously provided a studio for my stay here. One of the most peaceful and serene studios I have worked in. I have been blessed with very sunny and windless days here so also have been taking time to work outside in the woods, dunes and painted pathways that link the colony to Nida to the Baltic Sea. We are heading back to Kaunas where I will be showing works made on this residency at http://www.nycesusai.lt/
Parnidis, the valley of drifting dunes where heavy footsteps displace one tonne of sand beside the impenetrable Russian border. Trees signal painted in orange and watch-towers raise high above the tree tops in wait for roaming wild boar, elk, moose and drifters. Prehistoric sundial displaced by hurricane feathers. The veins all point in the same direction. The work is coming faster now. A navigation is found and a routes decided upon. The painted coloured card prepared in the studio seem to have sub-consciously resonated with the local territory as if i had been here before.
We are here in Nida exploring the pine forests and sand dunes of the the Curonian spit which is nearly 100km long between the Baltic Sea and Lithuania. It’s quiet here, the tourist season is ending and people are packing up their summer homes for winter. There is a sense of The Shining about it. People are airing mattresses and washing down drives. Silent forests surround us on all sides where wild boar, elk and moose roam. Beyond that huge sand dunes. In the next few days I will be working from the Nida Art Colony.