#4 - April Vokey - Founder, Anchored Outdoors

April Vokey is an adventurer, fly fishing writer, host of the Anchored and Into The Backing Podcasts, and founder of Anchored Outdoors. After guiding in British Columbia for ten years, she now splits her year between camp in northern BC and Australia. She is an FFF certified casting instructor, forager, bowhunter, and mother. Join Mark and April in charged and searching conversation about the things we love, loves lost, and the future of fishing.
Check out April Vokey and her work:⁣

Other topics discussed:⁣
Save What You Love with Mark Titus:⁣
Produced: Tyler White⁣
Edited: Patrick Troll⁣
Music: Whiskey Class⁣
Instagram: @savewhatyoulovepodcast
Website: savewhatyoulove.evaswild.com
Support wild salmon at evaswild.com

Episode Transcript:⁣

Mark Titus  0:00  
Welcome to Save What You Love. I'm Mark Titus. Today we get to hang out with April Vokey. April is an entrepreneur, she's a world class fly fishing guide, and she's created a community of outdoor enthusiasts like me, nd a lot of you, called Anchored Outdoors. And we're gonna dive into it with April today talking about our shared love of wild salmon, our desire to protect them, love and loss, and really how we dig in to protect the things we love most. Hope you enjoy the show. And if you want to follow us, we have a brand new Instagram feed. It's @savewhatyoulovepodcast. And you can check out all the things we're doing at evaswild.com. That's the word save spelled backwards, wild dot com. Enjoy the show.

Whiskey Class  0:57  
Music: How do you save what you Love?

Mark Titus  1:25  
April Vokey.

April Vokey  1:27  

Mark Titus  1:28  
Good to see you. Thank you for joining us. 

April Vokey  1:30  
Yeah. Good to see you again, too.

Mark Titus  1:32  
Where are you coming to us from today?

April Vokey  1:34  
Today I am in sunny Australia.

Mark Titus  1:38  
What day is it? It's Sunday here.

April Vokey  1:41  
Yeah, it's Monday 10am. And I'm just waiting for it to get a little bit warmer over there. And I think I'm about to suck it up and go back to Canada.

Mark Titus  1:50  
I was just gonna ask you, what are you doing over there? What's going on in Australia?

April Vokey  1:54  
We had my dog was here and was really sick. And so for the last two and a half years, I've just been by his side. And yeah, now that unfortunately he's gone. I'm trying to find one silver lining in it. It's almost impossible. But the one silver lining is I get to see my aging parents again. So I'm getting ready to head on home and get back with my family.

Mark Titus  2:19  
Good deal. I am so sorry. I'm a dog person as well. All my life I have to pugnacious renters right now. And I know there's nothing I can say that's gonna really solve that. But it is I know how much in love with my dogs I am and I'm just so sorry for your loss. 

April Vokey  2:39  
Thanks, Mark. Yeah, no, it's it's hell, it hell. And yeah, I don't really it's funny because I feel like the the human in me so badly wants to, like prep people for the things I didn't know. Like, I always like, well, maybe the silver lining is I can help somebody who doesn't see what's coming. But then it's like, also don't want to terrify people about what's to come. Because I know for almost 13 years, that was like, my number one fear. And it's as bad as you expect. So yeah, yeah. But you know, I'm reading a book, I'm reading a new book called it's okay to not be okay. And I think so far that looks like it's promising, because I just don't know what I just don't know what else to do. But try to face it.

Mark Titus  3:25  
That's great. I we're gonna get into a lot of this, I think. And, and it is okay to not be okay. Certainly part of my story. I think at the head of this thing, I just love to dive in right to the meat of this. And I'm inspired. This question is inspired by part of a podcast episode in your amazing podcast, Into The Backing that you broadcast in July I think last year was this particular episode, you were talking about the guilt or the selfishness about catching and releasing fish. And with that, just kind of as a general backdrop, I just want to ask you the big question. Why do you fish?

April Vokey  4:14  
Yeah, well, it's changed now to what what it was. I used to fish for the Mad adventure. Right and like it was never the fish, I started fishing quite young. And I'm talking like no, I'm not talking trolling worms with dad. I'm talking when I was 16 17, 18 19, 20 just wild out there. And it was for the excitement. You know, I wanted to run into bears and I wanted to turn the corner and my raft and have some awesome whitewater that I had to push through and I love getting lost like it's crazy, but I just loved the adventure. The fish were just a byproduct of the adventure growing up in British Columbia.

Mark Titus  4:53  
I know you've told your story many, many times. I've read a bunch of it in lots of different articles. It's a wonderful story. But if you could just for context for our listeners, could you give us a little bit of background how you found your way into this strange obsession that we share for fishing? And it doesn't seem like it was something that just came right out of your family? It seems like you kind of found it on your own.

Unknown Speaker  5:19  
Yeah, so Dad didn't fish, Dad doesn't fish. Nobody in my family really fishes. And so I was more drawn to the water. I think, really, the fish have always been a byproduct for me if I really have to look into it, because it was never the drawing. It was never what drew me to it. When I was a child. It didn't draw me to it when I was an independent teenager and young woman, and it still isn't what draws me to, you know, going fishing, it's never been the fish. And I understand it's different for everyone. But for me, it's just always been about the experience. But yeah, I love the water. And when I was really young, we were out and saw a dead salmon. That wasn't all you know, it hadn't been. It was it was pre spawn, not post spawn, so it must have hit its rock or something going up the canyon, or its head on a rock going up the canyon in any way. My parents explained that this enormous, beautiful, big Chinook salmon had tried to spawn and I'm looking at this river going yeah, but it's like 10, 15 feet wide. And they explained the migration. And that was it. For me, I was like, well, mathematics say that, obviously, I can intercept this fish, and it just kind of went from there. Then the rest is, you know, like I have mentioned before, and I don't want to bore you or bore anyone, but it was all I could think about I saved up my allowance to go and do it. And you know, by the mall, there was a tackle shop that became very quickly, my go to spot. So when I was in eighth grade, you know, 12, 13 girls would go to the mall, I'd go next door, get my stuff, spend my allowance on Jensen eggs, and then basically counted down till I was 16 to be able to go and drive and do it and then did that the day I turned 16 and met a man on the river who became kind of my mentor, not in fly fishing, but in conventional fishing. And I knew by 18 I was I was gonna do it professionally and set out to really, you know, expand my skills and my knowledge and started my own guiding company when I was 21 Well, I guess 2007 so whatever that was, I started guiding at 21 for someone else and then eventually started my own operation i a year after.

Mark Titus  7:21  
It's funny, I spoke with David James Dyson recently on the show here and the people that I really admire and have found their way into fishing and found a lot of solace in fishing and a lot of purpose and fishing actually say the same sort of thing. It's it hasn't been about the catching and possessing and the fish experience necessarily, at least just with the rod and reel for for David Duncan, it was beholding and I have a coho that came up out of the deep in Johnson Creek in Portland. And I'm hearing from you, you know, this encounter with a Chinook even though it was passed on, it still was this encounter of wonder. And I definitely felt that way as well. Like, you know, as two years old first time I encountered a fish with my dad a Chinook. He caught it I chucked my brand new little pole at it and lost it. And, but all the things, the squidy things and the flashy things and, and all of the things and then it just became like you this obsession to just keep doing it and learn more and go deeper. So I definitely identify with that.

April Vokey  8:34  
And the other thing, sorry to cut you off, but the other thing just look, it's all kind of flooding back to me now. But it was like I would be just as excited about fresh deer prints or fresh bear prints as I was about the fish but I think I wanted to connect and touch with all of those things, but obviously, you can't and so I think that the one thing that I could physically hold was was the fish I mean, I think the thought of killing something back then it was just like appalling to me right? Like going hunting for deer or something was never on was never an option for me back then it is now but it wasn't then. And so obviously I knew I wasn't going to catch a deer and cuddle it and you know, I tried catching mice I tried catching frogs I tried catching everything but the one thing that I really could control was catching fish. So yeah, I think now looking back it definitely wasn't about the fish. But I think that it was just the way it was like the final cap in being able to actually touch something after being out there and, and all that wonder.

Mark Titus  9:38  
I agree it is the connection part and I think we'll hone in that a little bit later on in the conversation here. But it is it was and it remains that connection part. That is what keeps me going still. So you you get this obsession. You're doing all this rad stuff as a young woman I mean, I gotta say, you know, come on that had a young guy like myself been able to hang out with a young girl who was into that sort of thing that would have been just beyond my wildest expectations. I didn't think creatures like you existed.

April Vokey  10:18  
You would have hated a creature like me, I was not someone you wanted to hang out with. I think I believe it. Seriously, I got way too envious. If you caught more fish than me, I didn't want to be around anybody because I just wanted to be out there alone. But then sometimes I knew for safety, I needed to be around somebody. All creatures like me, I don't know about the other gun, ladies. But I know for me 20 years ago, be thankful we didn't know each other mark, because I was a nightmare.

Mark Titus  10:43  
This, the competitive part does not surprise me.

April Vokey  10:48  
It was never like, that's the other thing is it was never about the fact of like, who caught more fish, it wasn't like that, because I'm still not competitive with my spouse fishes. I'm not, I'm not a competitive angler. But you know, when you're out there, steelheading. That's all I'm talking about right now stealing when you're out there, and it's been seven days in a row and you haven't seen a fish. And then for that glimmering 10 seconds, you get that up close and personal experience. It was okay if I could be there to see the fish and be there for the experience to actually see it. But if I was upstream, and my buddy caught that fish after seven days, and I wasn't even able to see it, that that's what I'm talking about. It was never who caught it. Remember, this is way before social media like there, there was no ulterior motive I there's no ego. I mean, it was nice to get a photo. But it was just I wanted to see that I and that cheek, after seven days of not seeing one. And so that's, that's more what I'm referring to.

Mark Titus  11:47  
I get it, I got it and had that same feeling. And it was about that. Missing that connection. If a guy next to me caught a you know, 45 pound King by stumbling into it. And you know, we've been pounding it for a week and haven't seen anything. It's, it's tough. It's tough. You, you push this and made this into your life. And that's incredible. takes courage. And you were really cooking along? How did your focus on life change in 2008?

April Vokey  12:24  
So is that with? Are you talking in regards to starting the company or my car accident?

Mark Titus  12:29  
I was referring to the car accident in particular. And there's some method to this. So if you

April Vokey  12:33  
Oh, you're drawing me in, are you?

Mark Titus  12:36  
I doubt I could actually do that. But yes, this is the only way of making sense in my own little brain here. So

April Vokey  12:44  
That's, that's okay. And look, I'll be honest, you are getting me. This is you're the first person I really spoke to in two weeks since I've lost Colby. So I am definitely I'm easy to draw. And right now, I've got experience, I've got feelings I've never had before. I'm in a very strange, admittedly dark place right now, you know, so I have no idea what will come out of the conversation. But I'm just happy to connect with somebody. So absolutely. And that's, that's my hope to,

Mark Titus  13:13  
honestly, as part of this show. So yeah,

April Vokey  13:16  
and you do a great job. By the way, I've got to commend you. You do some wonderful work too. So but 2008 Yeah, I was going on a fishing trip I had I had been a cocktail server at a casino. And had up until then, I had guided in the day, and then I would cocktail at night. And that worked really well I either choose 8:30pm till 4:30am shifts, or I do tend to six depending on on season. am and so anyway, I had just gone down from full time into part time and was really excited to do my first ever filming with this fly max films, it was called them showing my agent out because this is long time ago. And so we're on our way to our first ever shoot, really and this is we're just holding little, you know, game cams. We didn't have a crew or anything and I was the guys were already there and I was driving up with a girlfriend and we got in a life changing car accident. So we were doing 100 going one way and the drunk driver she was three times in court three times over the legal limit. She was coming the other way 120 kilometers and she was in a three quarter ton Chevy and I was in my thankfully lifted Toyota Tacoma and we had like for headlight head on collision. And so everything just overnight changed. I mean everyone lived I don't know how they had to use the jaws to get the driver out and my passenger broke her back and the liver, pancreas and intestine were all detached and I walked away with a with obviously injuries but a rebuilt right foot I had a what's called a loose Frank fracture. So they had to basically rebuild my joints and plates and pins and all that stuff. And overnight, I thought, oh my god now. So because I had gone down to part time I lost all my benefits. And because being a waitress who just didn't, I did what we all did when you're, you know, in your early 20s, and like claim that I didn't make very much money and tip. So all of a sudden, I had no income at all. And I couldn't go back to work and unemployment insurance wasn't going to compensate me for my tips, because I hadn't been claiming them. Anyway, so long story short, I had to do something. And so I thought, well, I'm going to just dive headfirst into Fly, my company at the time was called Fly Gal Adventures, I remember that, yeah, and I couldn't keep guiding because I was obviously injured. And I couldn't teach and there was a bunch of stuff I couldn't do. So I got creative and started doing a lot of stuff online, where I could, you know, selling merchandise, tying flies, writing articles. And this was at the same time that Facebook came out, or was really starting to gain speed. And so I did utilize Facebook to launch my career. And obviously, that was met with a ton of criticism, because no one had done that, at that point, male or female, it was not being done. And so being a female doing it, and obviously using myself to some degree as clickbait, not sex, it's different. But, you know, I was catching beautiful big fish. And so I was posting pictures of beautiful big fish. And, and that obviously, was met with a ton of criticism, which I do understand, especially looking back now I can understand, but at the time, I was really trying to feed myself and do something I really loved. And it all just kind of happened at the same time as the car accident and social media. And I went through a really dark spot in trying to figure all that out. You know, I was this young adventure, and all of a sudden, I was stuck on a couch. Obviously, the trip was canceled. Filming was canceled. Everything was canceled. And I just remember laying on the couch being really depressed. And I've never had that before. Yeah, it's all it gets all flooding back to me now, especially feeling how I'm feeling now. But I had never been depressed and all this. So I called my physical therapist, and I said, Look, I know I'm not doing so well, mentally. And I all the guys are filming anyway. Excuse me, can I go? And you've got me doing physical therapy. I knew I was in a wheelchair. But I'm doing physical therapy anyway, with my upper body and it's still water season. It's May in June, it was May at this point. Yeah, May at this point, can I go up to the lake and roll myself around, I can wheel myself down and get in the boat. And anyway, so I did like one of the guys came back down. And we drove on up. And for six weeks, I lived in that boat and I was happier than a pig in s**t. I was I had my cast on I was in my wheelchair, I would wheel down eventually, over the next couple of weeks, I was able to get on my crutches. And then I would crouch down, put my rods in my boat. And we filmed that entire first season actually with me on crutches.

April Vokey  17:59  
But I was just happy, you know, and that was my real moment of, Oh, this is really life changing. I'm a totally different person than I was a few weeks ago. And of course it was this really weird high that I wasn't on painkillers either. So this was just this high of life of like, I'd realized that I'm only here for a short amount of time, and I'm going to use every single day like it matters. And then it really did it. It catapulted me into this strange sort of hype.

Mark Titus  18:29  
We're talking to a lot of folks, I'm one of them on this show about transcendent moments, you know, and I too, you know, through my journey through addiction have went to a place I never even comprehended, existed. And by grace came out on the other side, and I think that there is there is some commonality in this storyline, that people have to find some sense of a bottom or some sense of a stretching of their resilience into maybe achieving their potential or even having a glimpse of what that is. You just gave me one great example of courage of just getting off the couch, getting into a boat, even with a cast and doing this thing. But at 25 years of age you you did another huge example of courage. I think when you kind of cut a lot of things loose from your life and decided to move in another direction. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

April Vokey  19:33  
Oh, you're getting you're gonna get me dark here. Um, I don't know how I feel about this going on YouTube, but I'll share anyway. Yeah, so that I have never told anyone this before. I think I'm safe telling this. I had put off getting going through a lot of my PTSD and even you know, driving back up again, after I had to just close my eyes almost the entire way. Because every time that a car would come around the corner, I would have these horrible flashbacks. And so I just had these, I just didn't want to deal with it. So I was happy. And I was high. And I think this is why I've never admitted this because I don't want to deter from the stories that we do have to hit rock bottom. But I remember being in the hospital and the counselor had come to me and she said, if you don't start talking about this, you're going to get hit with it later. And as I've done that, I'm I promise God, that who or whoever was listening, that if I survived that crash, because in that moment of I knew we were going to crash. And I said to whomever was listening, like, God, if you just let me live with this, I promise I'll never take it. I will never ever, ever waste another day because I had been so career hungry, leading up to that point. And it was all that I focused on. And I put a lot of things second, and it just I didn't like who I was at the time. And so I just thought, you know, if you let me live through this, I promise I'll never take another day or relationship for granted again. And so and I did that. And so instead of having to deal with what I had just gone through, I was like, I can beat this, look how happy I am. Look how strong I am, I'm doing this, I'm happy. But every time that it would creep in and what it just happened, I would push it out in my mind. And a lot of things happened after that. And I started to look at my relationship a lot differently. It was like, you're miserable. And you're complaining about the littlest things that I just don't understand. Because I'm just happy to be alive and you should be happy to be alive. Why? Why are we letting these little things bother us. And so I grew away from my relationship and ended up doing another running away essentially, I got in my truck and I drove on up to the Bulkley at the time and disappear I thought it was gonna be gone for like six days, I think I was gone for I don't know, I was gone for over a month. And really just had this moment of like, I need to be free and somewhere in there and I and admittedly, I can't remember it's all a big blur. So I can't remember this happened before or after that Bulkley trip. But I had a total breakdown. I don't remember it. I just woke up in the hospital. And this is this is a little embarrassing, but I think that it is something I do want to mention because it is important to know in the story. I decide at some point in all of this I had drank myself into I've don't drink at all, by the way, never have. And one night somehow I just drank like a whole you know those big things of vodka from the airport? Oh, I do. I literally don't remember any of this mark. I have no idea. I was alone. I don't know anything. I just remember I woke up in the hospital. And my parents were like, I was like What has happened? And they said you. I guess somehow my sister walked got she my sister whose boyfriend was living inside of that was living with us at the time. Thank you Stevie and Dana walked in and I was totally unconscious. They haven't told me the details. I don't know if there was vomit or what. But anyway, I was severely poisoned. And they brought me to the hospital where I was pumped and admitted for a day or so. My parents were like, you're obviously going through something. It's when I spoke to I went to counseling after that. And they said this is PTSD. You've had a total breakdown. My parents moved me in with them. And at that point there, I left my relationship. I really left everything. And it's all coming back so fast anyway, and so that was in the fall. And that's when I got Colby. It's all just kind of hit me right now about Colby. I totally forgot about that. But that's when I got Colby. Now it all makes sense.

Mark Titus  23:25  
Colby your soul soulmate dog.

April Vokey  23:29  
And I just I did Yeah, I got Colby so I got back from that trip. It would have been October. I got Colby in November, and left my relationship and Colby and I started over and Colby and I absolutely kicked ass for the next 13 years.

April Vokey  23:45  
We were perfect. So yeah. So that's the timeline. I totally forgot that he came after that breakdown. But I was strong after that Mark. I was totally up until now. I have been so strong. I had there were no other breakdowns. I had a you know, I ran I had a bad couple bad. I had a single abusive relationship that didn't last that long and that one was fine. I got strong left that Colby and I have done well. Colby and I we I've beengreat since then. So yeah,

Mark Titus  24:20  
Well, you know, Brene Brown, among others suggest that vulnerability is a hidden strength that we don't talk about in North American culture often and we especially as males don't embrace or show and I definitely agree with that idea. And I've had to for my own survival vulnerability to me thank you so much first of all for sharing this and it just makes me first of all, feel for you. And secondly feel akin to you for the the depth of That grief that you're feeling. And I felt that as well. And I think it does make us stronger. I mean, if you're able to go there and deal with the PTSD that you've dealt with and feel the actual feelings for me, it was about putting the alcohol on top of the feelings because I didn't want to feel them. I wanted to obliterate them. And it wasn't until I got completely, I got my ass kicked completely, and completely admitted defeat, and asked for help and complete surrender, that I could find my way up. And so I appreciate you very much for sharing this.

April Vokey  25:44  
Oh, sorry. It's just it all hit Mark. That's, that's all part of it. There's been so much grieving with this thing Colby. And it all just hit, he was like, he was like my savior back then. And I've just relied on him for so much over 13 years. And then to have all of a sudden, just gone. It's like, anyway, it's just a whole, it's like an end of an era. It's, it's

Mark Titus  26:08  
it is,

April Vokey  26:09  
it's like for the first time in my life, I have to like stand up on my own. It's so weird, because everyone who just has dogs is like, it's just a dog. But he was, you know, like I said, before rolling we, if we're lucky, we have one soul dog, I think. And it's just a totally different relationship. I used to like, I used to, like, look at him. And in my head, I'd be like, blink, like, we are so connected. I feel like if you know what I'm thinking blink? I would it's insane. But I really believe I really believe that some people. Maybe we all do, I don't know. But I believe dogs are just they can do so much for us. So

Mark Titus  26:49  
well, I obviously agree. And I just I'm, I feel very honored that you're willing to share with me. So thank you. And, and I'm here for you like off camera. You know, off tape, if you ever want to talk through stuff, because I do a lot of that.

April Vokey  27:11  
Well, it's not you said something interesting. And the podcaster in me needs to, from my own comfort needs to sway it back at you. Sorry, but just so I could get my self together. Why do you think it is, I was telling my husband this the other day that I also believe that we need to hit rock bottom because admittedly, and I'm scared to say this because I don't want people in business to you know, think I'm going anywhere. I'm not. But I feel like I've hit rock bottom again for the first time in 13 years. And I said to him, but I'm stronger, and I'm more mature now. And so I can know that everything's gonna be fine and better. Because I believe in my experience anyway, that colbys taught me how to love my daughter better, how to live better how to just all the wonderful things that you learn from a relationship like that. And I was saying, you know, I know he's worried about me right now. And I said, look up to Fine, I will be better than fine soon. But why we were talking, we were trying to figure out why it is that we have to hit rock bottom to get to this stage like you hit rock bottom. And not just overnight. I mean, you hit rock bottom, gradually, it went on for a long time. Why do you think that hitting rock bottom helps us to you know, I'm stronger and taller than ever before?

Mark Titus  28:21  
I think you do a great job of flipping the script here and in the recovery community that I'm in we talk about hitting having to hit rock bottom and have you actually done it Have you actually hit rock bottom. And because if you haven't, and if you're trying to be of service to another person who hasn't, it's it's not gonna go very far. And really the reason is because for me, I still believed that my will and my control over the situation we're going to win the day that and that is the exact parallel with the the problem that I have, which is this isolation. I isolated myself from other people from other creatures from other souls from other beings, I think my affinity for a, an indigenous way of looking at the world and a way of life that doesn't have a word for religion, because everything is connected because everything is by his essence, part of the spiritual nature. So your your connection to Colby. My connection to my dogs, my family, my wife, my beloved ones in my life I had let that go down to the size of pinhole I had completely isolated myself because of the disease that I have. And so I kept thinking I could control it. Like, if only I drank this amount of booze as a medicine on these days and at these places, and I could control it all. And that was a course a complete illusion. And it wasn't until I had lost. Fortunately, I didn't lose my marriage, I didn't lose my house, I didn't lose all of my business contacts. I didn't obliterate everything. But I was on my way to, because out of fear, and out of complete isolation, because as an addict, as a person in recovery, an alcoholic, I isolate, I drink, I die. That's how that disease works. And, frankly, it was through grief, it was my inability to process grief to deal with emotions. It had something to do with being a male, but certainly not everything. It had more to do with being a human. And being a person that has a disease that tells me I don't have a disease. And so I needed to go all the way down to find that bottom underwater, in order to some way beaten and bedraggled. Reach up and ask for help. I didn't know how to do that. I wasn't taught to do that. That's not something that was in my lexicon. But when I did, the rest of the world was there to meet me, my higher power was there to meet me. My life is expanded to beyond anything I could have dreamed. Because of that, one moment of asking for help and asking for grace to come back in through the portal, but I, I wasn't gonna allow that to happen, because of my own will to control the situation. And that's why I think I needed to hit rock bottom. So

April Vokey  31:56  
do you define rock bottom as finally just completely letting control go letting go of control?

Mark Titus  32:03  
For me, it was it was a surrender. It was a surrender of I, despite my best thinking, I don't have this, I don't have this in spades like I think I do. And so once I did it, again, it just, the world opened up again. And now it's a part of, I have daily medicine, that's part of my ritual of, you know, quiet time, and meditation and connection with my community and reading and exercise and getting out and fishing every week, no matter what. Hiking, those are the things that I have to do. That's my medicine now.

April Vokey  32:54  
It's so true. It's so true. So on Friday, I'm taking that advice and I'm doing exactly that. My husband was like, you gotta go take a week just go. So I'm sorry, I don't even know where I'm gonna go. I know I'm going down to the Snowys and I'm just gonna get on that mountain and just start walking. Crazy, right? You know, it's like sitting around it I think that you can hit rock bottom and be at home. And again, I don't know I'm only gone through this twice. I've been through at once then and I'm going through something similar although not as bad now and the one thing that saved me last time was getting outside really getting outside making changes. Kidding bottom getting outside and I haven't done that in two weeks. I've been hard to get out of bed I mean I do and I hide in work. I'm a total workaholic always happen so I really

Mark Titus  33:45  
don't know anything about that either.

April Vokey  33:47  
Because I can't I have a hard time sleeping with everything and nights are unbearable. I just work and so on Friday, I'm doing it so we should connect after that. I'll let you know how it goes because I haven't done much we can just get out.

Mark Titus  34:01  
Let's do I you know I honestly this is you're gonna laugh. So I had to trick myself into committing to this weekly. I'm call it wanderings now and so I made my brain think okay, it's part of work. So I actually go out and I fell. I filmed myself wandering in these various places. And I put it up on our on our Eva's well YouTube channel. And really, it was two things. It was one it was a way to trick myself into going out and getting that medicine every week. And the second part was, I know like my dad has some limited mobility and other folks are, you know, kind of house bound with COVID and I was like, Okay, this might be a cool way to be of service and share hiking and getting out to waterfalls, and I've just, I just filmed last week, catching 14 Searun Cutthroats in South Puget Sound and it was amazing, so fun. And it was like my dad can't get out and do that. So I started doing it and so it filled out whatever it takes, you know, it's just check those box And it does. It does give me that medicine dose that I need so good on you. And all you have you just got to start

April Vokey  35:08  
and sounds like a one, right? Just get out there. Because there's so much science showing that it obviously there's biolog There's our reasons why it, it helps us. I can't think of a single moment in my life where getting outside hasn't helped me. So it's, I'm a little disappointed in myself that two weeks over two weeks in and I haven't done it but.

Mark Titus  35:26  
Well, disappointment doesn't serve us. But you know what, do whatever it takes to do it, go do it. And you're right. I mean, there's there's just no bad. There's just no bad time going out into the wild. I mean, it's going to. There's the research, but it's it's, it feels like home to me. And I know it does for you too. So well. We're going to do just a little bit more chronology for half a second. And then we're going to kind of get into current events here. But I 25, the year 25 years old was a big year for me. I kind of came into my own as a guide in Southeast Alaska. And I lived in the Tongass and I was guiding for five months a year and I lived out there for two two full winters at the lodge. It was some way out. place called yes Bay Lodge no roads. And I knew I was home for the first time. And I read a fair amount about during the time you were around 25 I read a fair amount about your advice to other women who fish and I guess you said you one quote you had was were the mascara if you damn well want to. And then I was particularly moved by a quote I read from a blog post that you wrote in 2009. I'm just going to read it here.

April Vokey  36:49  
Oh, this is so embarrassing.

Mark Titus  36:51  
Oh, it's good. I think it's I think it's really fantastic because you already talked about this a little bit. And you said "I'm allowing myself 10 minutes to remove my tongue from between my teeth and say a little something that has entertained my thoughts for the past six years. Assumption and I go way back way way back. High maintenance, made up ,prissy, fake my fishing buddies and I always chuckle when the guy who has too much time on his hands feels a strong desire to make a crack about my makeup or color of my hair. If only know they knew the joke was on them. Truth be told as a casino cocktail waitress for longer than I care to admit, serving drinks and pretending to care about the pace at which chicken fingers are served, allowed me to fish like a maniac during the day and learn more about fishing faster than the average weekend angler. Tight shirts, combed hair, manicured nails, I always had to fake ones to try and conceal my embarrassingly calloused and rugged fishing hands". I love that part. "And an easy on the eyes image we're all part of the uniform. For years I would work until the early morning on only to clock out and head straight to the river for some early morning fishing car packed with all my gear, a toothbrush and a small tube of paste. I would drive all night through icy canyons, stopping only for the occasional energy drink, day old coffee and consequently dreaded rest stops. When my eyes began to feel heavy, I would nap in the lonely bend of a highway pull out until I would snap back to consciousness by a semi truck or obnoxiously honking train. Hell or high water I was making it to the river so I could fish all day before driving all dusk back to work to do it all over again". And I was super moved by that. I mean, one about your image that you bring up about making it in the world. And I think another quote you said was you know, I was the best woman I could be then.

Mark Titus  38:38  
And your absolute dedication. This wasn't like you were out instagramming this this wasn't like you were out. 

April Vokey  38:47  
There was no Instagram 

Mark Titus  38:48  
doing this to be cool. There wasn't Instagram, right?

April Vokey  38:51  
There were no cameras on phones back then.

Mark Titus  38:54  
So this was a drive that I certainly identify with. And I know any of our listeners that are listening who loves something so much, they would do anything for it can identify with. So could you you know, just tell me a little bit about what you have told other women that have done everything they can to be as enamored of this, this fishing that we are obsessed with. And finding your way in this world. It's typically a male dominated sport.

April Vokey  39:32  
Sure, I thought I was gonna dread reading something from 2009. But it actually gives me some comfort because I remember all of those nights, I mean, years of those nights, and yeah, I still stand by that all these years later. Where to start? I mean, look, I would waitress and so I would I literally people don't know this but in half my photos. If I had someone there to take a photo, I've got nylons underneath my waders. I don't even have long johns, I've got nylons, I've got a picture on the internet. I'd have to dig it up. It's old, but I've got like, I still have kink in my hair from like having, you know, those I don't know, you know, those old flat press like those flat arms that were kinky there that was like popular back then. And I would still Reek like hairspray. And you know, as a cocktail waitress I make I make zero or cocktail server, I make zero apologies for needing to look nice, it was part of the uniform. I was also sturgeon guiding in and around that time. And so my fingers were just stacked with like, I don't know if you've ever got or gone fishing for sturgeon, but you get bait and stuff in your fingers. And so, and I've got I already have really rugged hands because I work hard. And so the only way to hide all that was with these fake nails, which is of course looks ridiculous in a fish photo. But at the time, that was my whole thing was my uniform. And again, this is before social media and before photos and iPhones or even WiFi like there was no such thing as WiFi back then. I remember because Ross used to play this poker game. And I would always try to call the hostel that we all stayed at and Ross would be on the line and it would beep beep beep remember because it was like dial up internet. And but even though we didn't have to worry about the idiots online, you didn't have to worry about the idiots on the river. Right. And you didn't have to worry about idiots and what they said after and, and those are real problems back then. And in fact it looking at it now it was almost more complicated than it is now at least there's some accountability online, or people to stick up for you online. Or at least there's just the safety of that person being far away. But when back then you were kind of putting yourself out there because if something did happen to you, you couldn't just call for help. And there were not nearly as many towers as there are now, you couldn't just take a photo of the person because I mean, we're still using film, digital came not their long out, you know, not the far after. But still, we didn't just have phones to take out. It was you just had to deal with a lot more idiots on the river. And they did present a really real problem. And so my option was to either go inside or go to a gas station on my way to fishing, and take it all off. But that would have taken more time than if I had done what they were accusing me of which was taking the time to put it all on. So it was this weird irony and that I was just that. And I wanted to I needed to work and pay my bills. But I wanted to go fishing. But then to take everything off and try to change what I looked like, was going to take more time than putting it on, which is what I was being accused of is Oh well, if you really loved it, you wouldn't be putting that much time in how you look. So it was funny catch 22 it's a little bit different for a lot of ladies now. And maybe for some women back then. But a lot of what I have to say still does carry over like who cares? If you wear mascara? It sounds stupid now because there are so many women out fishing now that you would almost never the comments of like mascara are slim to none. None, right? Like there's so many women out now wearing mascara that you'd look stupid to be like, oh, but you're wearing mascara, but back then, that was a really real problem people had a real problem with you wearing mascara. Or like a pink scarf, the fact that you know that it had color to it was like a real issue.

April Vokey  43:26  
So but you there's that but there's other concerns now, right? There's other other bullying and stuff that goes on and people seriously questioning your, your motive, your motive. And I feel for a lot of women now just trying to open my mind to today get out of 2009 because though a lot of that was written in 2009, but I'm referring to before all that because I was fishing the Thomson, which is what I was doing all those trips before I was guiding so that would have been I started guiding, well Gly Gal, my company started in 2007. So it would have been prior to that, that that I was really referring to but now you know fast forward to now we have to deal with people questioning if we're actually doing it for real offers because of an Instagram photo, which is really offensive in a lot of ways especially if you're trying to share an experience with somebody and you're not you don't have ulterior motives. So I feel for women today more than ever because looking back now it's a lot easier to argue wearing mascara than it is arguing why I'm out you're actually doing it. I guess that Yeah, the argument now is who cares, right? Like if someone wants to criticize your motive, it really doesn't matter but it does kind of suck a little bit if you're trying to share the experience and people are trying to take that away from you.

Mark Titus  44:37  
Totally. Wear the pink scarf, wear the mascara.

April Vokey  44:40  
Yeah, sorry about that. Probably then we could go so deep into that conversation and I'm willing to if you... did you have, did you have an aspect in particular?

Mark Titus  44:49  
I think that's just right. I honestly I just keyed in on tjust that image of like I'm getting off work. I'm jumping in my rig I'm going fishing period and yeah I just I like I'm gonna do it no matter what. That's what I was just really moved by that. No, we'll keep moving along here. We could talk for three hours. And I'm going to try to move this along so you can get your day going. And I'm just loving this. Thank you so much. So let's flash forward here to today. Tell me about this little being known as Adelaide, and the man with the blue eyes and How have your streams merged in this lifetime? Where, how has this changed? How is this enhanced your life? And how does it fit into Anchored Outdoors?

April Vokey  45:38  
Yeah, so the little being is my three year old daughter, who I totally admit I've been the worst mom ever for the last couple weeks. But I'm got my, I'm coming back on Now the good news is, is that she knows what's going on. And we're not hiding it. So she's, I don't want to hide life from her. So she's seeing it in its raw form. I was obviously not that night, because that's when it gets rough. But she's she's handling it really well. And I really look at her, just with the utmost respect, because she gets it, she understands it. But she's still in that stage of everything is so exciting and so exhilarating. So I'm able to look at life through her eyes right now. So I really appreciate her more than ever. I met a man without my husband. I don't even know that eight years ago, maybe we don't celebrate anniversaries or any of that stuff. So I don't know when we met. But I think we got married in 2014. And we met in Norway. And it was actually love at first sight. It really was love at first sight. And we shook hands and I had to go I was managing a lodger or guiding on the dean at the time and and I had one space open and I was like I had to go back after Norway and and we just like I'd love to see you again. And he had left Norway on his way back home and Australia. And I got a phone call from him in Japan. And he was he was traveling back home. And he was like, "I've never felt like this before I'm coming for you". And he literally changed this flight and rerouted to the Dean caught like the last flight and we've been together ever since. And so we decided that we would have a baby and here we are.

Mark Titus  47:17  
Wow, that is that is amazing. That is truly a love story.

April Vokey  47:22  
Its not always butterflies and roses. I mean, let's get real I mean, even nowadays, I'll still looking at me like, I have to like remember that moment. And that you know. So I don't want everyone thinking, Oh, you know, it's love at first sight. And so therefore it's forever perfect. It's not perfect, but it's real. And we're happy and we've got the best kid ever. So yeah, life is good Mark I have I will not be complaining about my life anytime soon. And crude outdoors happened. Because I was guiding on a Dean. And in case you haven't figured it out by now my brain goes 10 million miles an hour. And I just got to the point where I needed to, to do something with my time while I was on the river. And I started listening to podcasts. And actually, I think I even went back to school online. At some point, I was taking courses online with like, audio curriculum. And they I decided to start to start a podcast after I'd done this filming with my television show. And we were editing all the sound clips. And they were being left out of the series. And so started a podcast and the podcast, as you call it has evolved into Anchored Outdoors, which is a full educational platform now where we focus on masterclasses and we just launched our new membership. I don't know if you've logged in recently, but we're calling it the Connect Approach. Because believe that you know it again, because it's just launched all the fun bells and whistles haven't been opened yet. But it's going to be all coaching. So if you saw that milestones and challenges tab are writing out all of our basically levels right now so that when people get through the first phase, they can refer to people from the podcast and experts in my network. And we're going to help people get through to the next level so that they can go from phase one through phase five. So yeah, that's a really long winded way of saying the podcast turned into a another being at this point.

Mark Titus  49:16  
Well, I have such amazing admiration for you such deep admiration on different levels. putting this together, what one level is the community you're creating, and it's authentic. It is enthusiastic. I just joined you for a wilderness skills course this last week with Tom Brown, the third. And it was fantastic. It was so approachable. It was very much felt like a community. And so I just can't tell you like in this time of COVID I'm craving community. I know so many other people. That's what we're trying to facilitate here on this show and what we're doing with Ava's wild, you're doing a fantastic job with it. And, and it's so practical, I mean, I'm going to do every single one of the, of the offerings that you have for, you know, whether it's going back and looking and casting technique, or, you know, foraging or, gosh, you've got classes on tanning hides, I mean, it's incredible. So keep keep rockin that, it's wonderful.

April Vokey  50:29  
Thank you Mark, you need to come on to the interactive nights. So we do for the free ones for the public, which is what Tom's was. And then Unfortunately, we can't see everybody on those. But then for members, we do these interactive nights, and it's either time or we did like one interactive night, we did learning how to Turkey call. And so it's so fun. So we get to see everybody on screen. And it's private. So it's up on the members is recorded for members. But it's not open for the public, to you know, cause criticism and stuff. So all of us members get to know each other. And together, it's all like I can see 30 or 50, or however many of them on the screen and we all pour a drink and we laugh and we all been Yogi's, it's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. And the interactive part of the membership is just a bonus. But this whole community that's building there, they take in, I'm just the person who pays for Anchored Outdoors at this point, because the community for me, it has, I mean, I do it for the community. But they've taken this whole new level. And I couldn't be prouder of our members. They're just the best the best.

Mark Titus  51:36  
I hear you I honestly, short little relation to that is of course, COVID changed all of my plans last year, like it changed. Everybody's in the entire world. So there's nothing unique here. But we had planned on doing a 50 city tour with my film the wild. And we're going to go across the country, we had a food truck lined up, we were going to have salmon demos every you know, and a VR 360 cool demo of going to Bristol Bay, all that changed. And what we ended up having to do is roll out a virtual tour of the film, as you know, you're graciously agreed to be a panel member, one of the screenings we had. And that's what I found to the community part of connecting with people was the best part about it. It was just fantastic. And I it's why I'm stoked to be joining your community. Continuing what we've got in in ours, which completely overlap, it's it's good work and going to continue on with it. We're going to start kind of inching towards winding this down. And I want to get into what you're doing the important work that you're doing with your podcast into the backing. Moreover, what you're doing in a community forum, tackling really important issues in the conservation community, the sport fishing community, the overall biosphere community of the West Coast, and you don't shy away from speaking up, I mean, the matter about sex or singing out loud in the middle of a town square or bringing disparate groups to the same table to talk about controversial in the fishing world. Where did you get this spark of admirable defiance? And how does it affect your work? How does it affect your work?

April Vokey  53:28  
Admirable, admirable defiance is probably just from being stupid and having too big of a mouth. Because when I was younger, like I said, you wouldn't want it to have been with me, it's because I have always had too big of a mouth. I've just now I mean, I'm 37 I'm almost 40. You know, I've just learned how to be a little bit wiser about the words that come out of my mouth. But I would say it has nothing to do with me. Because I just have too big of a mouth. And that's just part of the way that the reason why it works. But it's all about what I've seen happen from long form communication. I mean, I don't know if you've seen it, but YouTube's a prime example. Just sound bites, everything's sound bites. People went from having a 20 minute attention span to I think nowadays is like eight seconds if you're lucky. And and that's fine. There are various people whom I'll never be able to, to get through to because they don't want to hear what I have to say or they can't get past eight seconds to each them. But there are people out there who crave hearing the whole story. They don't want sound bites, they Yeah, me too. They want to know the story. And they want to hear it from all sides. And so in seeing how important and how productive long form communication was with Anchored, I thought, all right, well, clearly, this is success. I mean, it shows that over 10 million downloads now. And every single time I interview someone new, I learned something new and exciting. And I thought but now it's time to put us all in the same room because I'd interview one person who was awesome. And their story would make sense and then I'd interview another person And say that they strongly dislike each other. And we'd interview them separately. And both of their stories made sense. And it's very confusing for the listener and for myself. So I thought, you know what, I was going to put all of you in a room together. And we're just going to get through this. And I'm going to, I'm going to navigate the conversation. I'll make sure everyone stays on point. And we're going to start tackling some difficult subjects. I mean, I started out simple. So episodes one and two, were pretty light hearted. I just wanted to break everyone in slowly. And then we started to get a little bit more controversial as we go along. The latest one tackled the the Washington fishing from a boat ban, which of course gets everyone really angry. But I think the most beautiful In fact, I know the most beautiful part of the whole show for me, is what you guys don't know that a lot of the times the people before they get on, they're like, I don't know if I can do this without getting in the fight. And I'm like, No, no, you can you can do this. Now I don't I think it's gonna be bad for business. I'm like, No, no, I promise you, I will not let you get down, go down that road. And every single episode, every single one so far, I think there, there haven't been that many. But every single one has resulted in genuine respect. And people emailing after and copying me in. And the guys and gals going and meeting up and doing work together after that is this. It's so cool for me to see. John Mcmillan, the biologist, who is, you know, has one stance on hatcheries and then Ian Courter, the biologist who has totally different stance for years, they've been going at it in government meetings, and now they're working together. And it's because they actually just rabl to sit down and talk. And it's crazy, just like talking. It's really not that hard. And we're in a really dangerous part of our lives right now where conversation can bring us so far. I mean, so many of so much of history is the result of conversation, great history. But now we're at a stage where you speak to suit or say something that's not entirely perfect, or something that can be extracted as a soundbite. You risk this whole cancel culture thing, which I don't think we're going to dive into now. But people are afraid of talking. But we need to talk to get somewhere. So we're in this weird gap. And so look, I have no doubt at some point, someone's going to try to cancel me for being so outspoken and for hosting the people that I have on the show. And I will tell you right now, I'm going to dig my heels in there will be no apologizing, I'm going to dig my heels in hard to this one. So I'm going to keep going at it and it's going to offend people and that's too bad. That's life. Life is hard. So if you can't handle conversation, then you can't handle real life. I'm sorry. I know it's not that cut and dry. There are conversations where it is tricky. I podcast to Donald Trump Jr. and admittedly, this was years ago, I could have probed him harder with conservation issues. But I also knew sometimes you don't get the opportunity. Sometimes you need to just take the opportunity that you have to do what you can and the thing with Donald Trump Jr. It was it was great it let Patagonia listen to the conversation and let Patagonia have a rebuttal and let them say their piece on something. So that was also what really sparked into the backing for me. I was like, well, Trump Jr. wants to say this. And by the way, people tried to cancel me for Trump Jr. No apologies, Trump Jr, Patagonia. And I thought to myself, because Trump said to me, look, put me in touch Patagonia, I'd love to work with him on some of this stuff. And that was when it really occurred to me, I need to put people in the same room to let not only the public be able to make up their own mind on things properly, but to see if there might actually be some productive momentum going forward. So into the backing is new and exciting and hard to organize my aim for one a month, sometimes they're fun and light, and sometimes they're not. So we'll see where it goes.

Mark Titus  58:39  
Look, I think it's cutting edge work, frankly, this idea of having a conversation. Oh, my God. And yeah, we were not going to go clear into the cancel culture wormhole today. We will we'll save that for another conversation. But I I'll be I got your back. You know, I couldn't agree with you more. As you know, from the wild. We included a segment in the film that talks about one of our characters guiding the Trump voice and I caught a lot of heat for that with, you know, some folks in the you know, hardcore environmental community and said what, you know, how Why would you Sully the piece talking about folks that are on that side of the aisle or have their ideology and the fact is that the current bit of pause we have in Bristol Bay was in part due to the outreach from sportsmen that were generated by Donald Trump Jr. and Johnny Morris with Bass Pro Shops and even Tucker Carlson from Fox News. Look,

April Vokey  59:49  
I saw all that, by the way.

Mark Titus  59:50  

April Vokey  59:51  
I saw that. I know a lot of that. I've got the heads up from ghido that a lot that was happening and then you and I were communicating about that. That's right. And I just I remember watching Tucker and like the outrage in the backlash and I thought, like, I just didn't get it. It was just, I was so or like the people that the fact that people were so shocked, and the right and look, I'm Canadian, and I do my best to keep up with you guys's politics oaky but, the fact that people are so shocked at the right would talk about conservation. It was just dumbfounding to me. I mean, isn't what's right is right. And what's I don't know, I don't know, the whole thing is just so confusing to me that you have to, to be in this. You have to be this. You got to be in one box or the other. I just I don't know, when that happened. When do we have to start being in one box or, or the other were complex individuals?

Mark Titus  1:00:38  
Well, this is why the work that we are privileged to do to work in the outdoor space somewhat, you know, you much more than I. It's, it is satisfying, because it is this great truth. There is no political real divide, when you are in the outdoors, and you've left the TV off, and you've turned the phone off. There is a truth there that binds people together. And I think that ultimately, I have hope that that's what's gonna win the day for us. You know, there's a lot of uphill battles we have. And I'm going to ask you about one right now. But in in this world of controversy that we were born into here on the insemination, the west coast of North America, we all love these salmon, we all want to connect with them. We all want to catch them. We all want to be have them part of our lives and continue to be the icons that they are. So I think that that is some place that we're all joined. But you know, clearly there are people that believe we should have a lot more hatchery fish to have exposure and a catch Creel, you know for to bring them home. And then there are other people that that don't believe that at all in hatcheries. But what I loved is, like you said in Into The Backing your show, you bring people together to have a discussion about this, about the science and about what it really is. And so that what I took from the particular episode that you mentioned with john McMillan and Ian Courter, was that what would really be great is to have one river next to another River. And you pull the hatcheries out of one river and you leave the hatcheries in the other river to really let and let that go for a decade to honestly get some some data at least a decade to get some real data on what that looks like. I think that makes perfect sense. I would back that at least do you think that we have the political will to do something like that?

April Vokey  1:02:49  
in regards specifically to hatcheries?

Mark Titus  1:02:52  
Yeah, a question like that I it certainly can extend into a bigger picture for salmon and for other things. But I mean, it, it just makes too much sense like, Well, of course that would work. But you know, is there, what we seem to run into are when we get to the policy level, the when of the policymakers making a decision on that, you know, it always seems to get watered down and kicked down the road. I mean, do you see that as like something like that as a moratorium on a particular area as a viable option? And do you think that the folks in you know, in BC and here in Washington State and Oregon, do you think that that can happen? Do we have the political will to make something like that happen?

April Vokey  1:03:33  
I don't know. I mean, that's above my paygrade for sure. Because there's so many moving pieces in so many variables. In British Columbia, it's different because a lot of our great wild streams are truly wild. And we're not going to introduce a hatchery. Just because, although it would be curious, because we do have a hatchery on the Kitimat, I'd have to obviously look into this. As far as political will in Washington, or in Oregon. I don't know. I mean, in British Columbia, we've had rivers close down, look at the Skagit in the sock and Washington. They shut that shut that down. So I'm sure if that there are case studies and things that that Americans and biologists are turning to, but it can't just be that simple. I mean, I say this now, although I am also almost 40 years old, looking at the world being like, Oh, I thought the adults had this under control, but maybe they don't. So that the young part of me says can't be that simple, or else they would have done it by now.

Mark Titus  1:04:27  
All right, so given what we know about the precarious situation with these creatures that we love in the habitat that we have and the troubles that we've seen in the Pacific Northwest, what lengths would you go to, to preserve these precious beings that you love? Would you In fact, give up fishing yourself for a period of time, eight years, 10 years, whatever it took to, to protect this thing that we love?

April Vokey  1:05:03  
I think they're two very different things. When it comes to the general public and them not fishing, I think you'll find that the answer is yes, that they would stop. And I think that when you look at and again, this is this is just me taking a guess, or a stab at this. When I podcasted, the guys on into the backing about the boat ban, the controversy, the more I listened to, you know, the side of from the guides, the more I heard that, that they would stop if it meant that, that they could be for sure that it would help the fishery, but they didn't like the kind of gray area and the and the mate will perhaps possibly it'll make a difference. I think the general public though, you know, excluding economy and excluding guides, I think the general public would stop fishing, when it comes to paying more. That's a very loaded question, especially for young families or people who are struggling right now to find income, or they're good, they've been hit by the pandemic, I mean, then it comes down to you know, the question is, what would you do to save what you love? Well, if you're trying to save your children, because that's what you love, and you're the general public doesn't fish, then they're going to be a lot less likely to support something like that. So this is where it gets tough. There are so many moving pieces, and everybody is so different and has different priorities. So I think it's a privilege question. So it's a difficult question to answer.

Mark Titus  1:06:28  
That's a good point. And knowing what we know about the variables of ocean conditions, and, look, we don't even have the ability to completely track these fish out in the open ocean. But what we do have the ability to do is at least attempt in terms of habitat to protect the best like in the case of Bristol Bay, and to restore the rest, like the elwha, and other places that have been unduly dammed or mind or dredged or harmed. And so, you know, with all of that in mind, as to why fish when people ask me, and I have people ask me all the time, why do you continue to fish after making these films? And, you know, supposedly being an evangelist for the salmon? And the answer is, it's pretty plain. I mean, I fish for that connection. I fish so that the 10 nieces and nephews I have are going to care, they're going to give it down the line. And then they're going to instill that into their kids and their kids kids. And I think that there is no substitute for that physical connection. There, there isn't a substitute even making a film about these things, or even a VR experience, that connection with the fishing line and then actually touching and seeing that I come up and look you in the eye. That to me, is the reason why I keep doing this to pass that along. So that shared connection will create the next generation of champions for these mystical creatures we love.

April Vokey  1:08:10  
Yeah, 100% it's Yeah, I don't really know what to add to that. I'd say. Yes, you're ticking all the boxes there.

Mark Titus  1:08:20  
Okay, so now nobody escapes the speed round. I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions. This is all hypothetical, of course. But here's the first one. Okay, your house is on fire. So of course you get out your loved ones and those whom you love. But what's the one physical thing you savefrom the fire?

April Vokey  1:08:43  
I literally don't hold anything. Nothing. Let me think there's there will be there has to be something. I can't think of anything. I'm like looking around to see if there's anything that I really need. Colby's ashes. I just got Colby's ashes.

April Vokey  1:09:05  
If I had a photo album I would but now with digital everything's online.

Mark Titus  1:09:10  
Okay, fair enough. Now, let's call it your spiritual house. What are the two most important things about your life that you take with you?

April Vokey  1:09:21  
Yeah, well, I feel like I'm in a place right now. The two things I'm rescuing myself from right now as we speak are trying to rescue remembering my, ike mighty young independent wild self because that's what called be gone. I feel like that was the last of that era. And now that I'm this like responsible Mum, I'm terrified of falling into just this like slump of being just a mum who goes through the this goes through the steps of life. So I'm desperately hanging on to that wild woman that I was. Because that's why I became a mum. was to share that with my daughter because I really like that wild woman. And I miss her. And I won't let her go. And I want my daughter to see her. So that her and my integrity always everyday on the week, my integrity.

Mark Titus  1:10:13  
Great. Lastly, what's the one thing you leave behind?

April Vokey  1:10:21  
Yeah, I would leave behind... These are great questions, Mark. I wish I was faster at answering them. I would I would leave behind being young and insecure and so desperate to prove that I was good. I mean, I only had to prove that to myself. So, but I would leave behind caring what all the naysayers said. Because just doesn't. It doesn't matter. It was a lost a lot of lost sleep for nothing.

Mark Titus  1:10:49  
Yeah, I hear that. Well, this has been a great conversation and April Vokey. How can folks find you out there and follow along with the great work that you're doing?

April Vokey  1:11:02  
Yeah, thanks. So they can go to anchoredoutdoors.com. So we're a pretty small team over there. But I do, make sure that I'm your person that you connect with. So if you do if you do reach out, you'll get me there. So you can reach out at info@anchored outdoors.com, or go to anchoredoutdoors.com, and you'll automatically be invited into our community. And I will see you over there. 

Mark Titus  1:11:22  
Right and how do we find you on social?

April Vokey  1:11:24  
Oh, yeah. Excuse me.

April Vokey  1:11:27  
I'm very boring on social these days, but I'm on Instagram @aprilvokey. And also on Facebook.

Mark Titus  1:11:34  
April Voki. Thank you so much for joining me today and for sharing such a profoundly personal story today. And we are going to be following you on anchoredoutdoors.com, and hopefully we can pick up this conversation again down the trail you and I.

April Vokey  1:11:53  
I hope so, Mark, thank you so much. And sorry for that meltdown. It's you got me at a really interesting time.

Mark Titus  1:11:59  
Thank you all for listening. And we'll see you next week on Save What You Love

Unknown Speaker  1:12:03  
Music: "How do you save what you love?"

Mark Titus  1:12:18  
Thank you for listening to Save What You Love. If you like what you're hearing, you can help keep these conversations coming your way by giving us a rating on Apple Podcasts. You can check out photos and links from this episode at evaswild.com. While there you can join our growing community. By subscribing to our newsletter, you'll get exclusive offers on wild salmon shipped to your door, and notifications about upcoming guests and more great content on the way that's at evaswild.com. That's the word save spelled backwards wild dot com. This episode was produced by Tyler White and edited by Patrick Troll. Original music was created by Whiskey Class. This podcast is a collaboration between Eva's Wild Stories and Salmon Nation and was recorded on the homelands of the Duwamish People. We'd like to recognize these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continued to live in this region, whose practices and spiritualities were and are tied to the land and the water and whose lives continue to enrich and develop in relationship to the land waters and other inhabitants today.⁣

#4 - April Vokey - Founder, Anchored Outdoors
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