Jodi’s Going To Africa 2020

What’s Africa 2020?

It started a few weeks ago actually.  I was watching the news, and there was a news story regarding a young lady climbing both the incline and Pike’s Peak with no legs.  You can read about her here.  In a news interview she stated her next goal was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  It peaked my interest, because I can’t really run anymore, I wanted to find new goals to achieve.  So I started searching the internet, and I found this article on a cancer survivor, who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with his doctor.  And then I got really interested.  I googled a bunch on Mt. Kilimanjaro, and about what it would take to climb such a mountain.  My dream has always been to go to Africa with my camera, and take pictures of my favorite animals in the wild.  This put a new dimension to my dream of going on an African Photographic Safari (I would never go on a hunting safari, as I do not believe in shooting guns).  I am going to climb Kilimanjaro in 2020.

Why Africa Though? And Why 2020?

I share a lot on social media, but not really a lot.  I always have had some odd connection to Africa.  I don’t even know how to explain it.  The first book I read was, “Born Free.”  I have a vast collection of things made in Kenya, if I see jewelry made in Africa I buy it.  My favorite rides, parks, restaurants, and resorts at Disney World are at the Animal Kingdom.  I love the culture, the food, the people, and the animals in Africa.  And before the Animal Kingdom in Disney opened, I loved the African stores at Busch Gardens in Tampa.  I have wanted to visit the real thing since I was eight.

My favorite animal has always been a lion.  My favorite Disney movie is “The Lion King,” my favorite musical the same.  When I was 21, I had my first, and only, close-encounter with a lion, I got to pet and hold lion cubs in a Mexican Zoo that had not yet opened.  The lion was just like a cat, it snuggled in my arms, and purred.  I will never forget it.  I have always had a hunger to see the Lions in their natural habitat.  I see myself as a Lion has I battle cancer.

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I chose June-July 2020, because this will give me enough time to heal my body, mind, and spirit.  As of right now, my cancer is on the decline.  I am receiving an experimental treatment that has made me feel better than I have in a LONG time.  This will give me the time to train, to do other climbs.  There are 14 peaks in Colorado that are above 14,000 feet.  My intention is to do a few of those before attempting my big climb.

Besides healing my mind, I have a LOT of work to do on my body.  I have been given steroids for most of the last two years.  I gained weight, a lot of weight.  I am trying to get down to a reasonable weight.  I also have start eating healthier and I have to train.  The training alone will help me get down to a fit weight.  I plan on starting to run again, just not marathons.

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I look forward to showing everyone my progress, and pictures as I make my dream of going to Africa, seeing her people, cultures, and animals a reality.

 

Oh Deer!

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When we first bought our new home in Colorado, I was so excited about all the wild life that our neighbors talked about.  Of course they were a little less than excited about some of the animals that visit our home.  Particularly, the Mule Deer (a little larger than white tail), that often rub their antlers on the budding trees.  But supposedly, we have a moose cow, a bear, and the deer.

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Last week, I got my 30-something-th chemotherapy infusion, and I was dragging after getting a wonderful injection of neulesta.  I laid down to take a nap, but Thor, my Golden Retriever, decided to bark and bark and bark.  I was irritated, so I yelled at him to STFU.  Yeah, I know my language isn’t the best when I feel like I do post-chemo.

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My daughter said, “Mom, get your camera, there are deer looking in the window.”  Deer looking in the window?!  Why would deer want to look in the window. Sure enough, I looked out my window, and saw the two doe above eating grass in our neighbor’s yard.  I snuck outside, and captured these photos of the beautiful buck that accompanied three doe.

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I’m 90% sure this is lovely 10-point buck that ruined one of our brand new pine trees that we planted earlier this year.  But who knows.  He sure liked to pose.  I got about 2-3 yards away from the herd before he pushed the doe away, and took off across the street.  I did manage to get a few more pictures.

I took a total of 30 pictures…

Some prints are available for sale, and I am making a new 2018 calendar.  My photographs are available for sale at Jodi Vetter Photography, the calendar, and other products will be soon available on a new Etsy Storefront.  A percentage of all sales goes towards Camp Mak-A-Dream outside of Missoula, MT.

Exploring The ‘Hood

One thing I absolutely adore about my new house, and my new neighborhood is that I can live far enough outside of town that it’s a personal sanctuary, but I’m close enough to a city that has all of my personal favorite stores.  The farthest one away is a 45 minute drive on the freeway (to just past Lone Tree).

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Just up the road from our home is a field shared by cows and the pronghorn.  The males have horns like deer, and the females don’t.  They are quite shy, and when I pulled over they took off.  I had to switch lenses to my 800 mm.

The top two pictures show how close the pronghorns to the city.

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On sunny days and nights this is what I see.  This picture was taken before a stretch of foggy weather, then we had beautiful weather, and again we had snowy weather.

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The foggy weather still yields beautiful scenery. Though the mountain is not visible, the pictures, I still think the pictures are beautiful.

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A few weeks ago, the fog broke, and this is what we saw on Pike’s Peak.  Snow came back like the first time we visited, and picked out our new home.

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Yesterday, we had a snow storm.  It was fantastic.  I slowed down the shutter speed, so that I could capture the snowflakes in without them looking too blurry.  The after effect made for the most perfect winter wonderland.  Sadly, the only remnants of snow are in the shadows of our home, and where the trees cast a shadow.

Besides the pronghorns that live the fields near our home, we also have two red tailed hawks.  They have a nest in our front yard, and we can hear them call in the late-afternoon, when they come out to hunt.  We also frequently will hear their young cry for food.  There are plenty of insects, field mice, and snakes to feed their babies.

 

This year we had a record number of painted ladies.  The painted lady butterfly flew through Colorado instead of taking their typical route through Florida.  It is hypothesized that it was because of the hurricanes that hit during the season.  Before the freeze we experienced, there were still many wild flowers to attract the butterflies.

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And of course there are song birds galore.  I imagine they will be migrating soon, so I won’t hear many of them during the winter, but I can still enjoy them.  The hummingbirds have gone already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Camping

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In July we went camping.  It was our first Colorado camping trip and we had a great time.  We went to Eleven Mile State Park.  I don’t even know how to describe where it is, but it’s on the other side of Pike’s Peak.  The reservoir runs along a river fed by snow melt.  The lake has Northern Pike, Salmon, Trout, Bass, and Crawdaddies.

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Yes, that’s right Crawdaddies, Mudbugs, or crawfish, the little red delights that are often found in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras.  They were in season when we got there.  Some of the park rangers were having a weekend seafood boil.    We were surprised to say the least.  Unfortunately, our boat is broken, and Shane had to take it to the shop after we got home.

While the kids and Shane went fishing, I walked around camp, and took some pictures of camp. I found one of the Colorado Springs Rocks.  The staff from a beauty salon in town had hidden rocks throughout the park.  There were a lot of song birds too.  The top two pictures posed for me on the picnic table.  The other bird and rabbit were regular visitors to our campsite.

 

And flowers galore!  We took hikes on the third day through the pine and birch trails.  I have traded tropical flowers for wild flowers.  Succulents, red poisonous berries, and other fragrant flowers.

 

And of course a new toy.  I sucked it up and bought a super wide angel lens.  It took perfect pictures of the landscapes around our camp.  I could get full mountains without turning my camera all sorts of different directions.  I still haven’t figured out astrophotography.   But hopefully I will be able to take pics when I get out of the hospital.

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And we had our security system.  She LOVED sleeping outside, and getting in touch with her wild side (chasing ground squirrels and birds).  Thor didn’t pose for me.  He would walk up to me every time I put up my camera.  The only time I can get a good picture of him is if I am at the end of the yard, and he’s running towards me.

 

I Love The Zoo

My dad always followed his dreams.  One of my big dreams is go to on a photo safari.  It has been a dream since I was younger and used to visit the Minnesota Zoo.  The Minnesota Zoo was one of the first zoological parks to institute realistic animal enclosures.  Since we are honoring my dad the last few weeks, I took some decidedly wonderful photographs of the animals of the Animal Kingdom Safari ride and subsequent Jungle Walks…

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Lent Day 22: Super Photobomb…

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I went for a walk during my rest day.  My neighborhood is full of beautiful flowers.  I now know why everyone in my family is suffering from allergies this morning.  I only know a few of the flowers pictured, so please pardon my lack of knowledge and labels.  I was attempting to capture the doe and fawn that I have seen during runs, I also wanted to capture the Ospreys and Pelican.  Unfortunately, I missed the two deer, but here are some of the shots I got…

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Jasmine often grows as a weed out here.  Right now, you can’t really smell it, as there is a few trees that smell strongly.

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Flowering trees in my neighbor’s yard.  These are the most fragrant trees right now, and they have a musk-y perfume, unlike the Jasmine in the area.

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This is the roadway to a mansion that’s currently for sale, the list price is $7.1 million.  It has 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a ballroom, an indoor and outdoor pool, it’s over 5,000 sq. ft., and has 17 acres.  There is over 18 feet of beach front.

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Pineapples and manatees adorn much of the properties in our area.

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Squirrels are everywhere.  They can be aggressive and bite, but so far no deer.

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This is another flower that has a strong odor.

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Sea Grass…  The water was not great today.  There were no birds on this side of the bridge.  I saw them swimming, fishing, and diving on the other side of the bridge.  I could not cross the bridge.

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And finally here’s my photobomb.  Here I was trying to take a picture of this beautiful creature, and this flower goes and jumps into my picture….  Oh well, hopefully it doesn’t ruin the picture too much.