Hi, and welcome to our adventure! My name is Troy & my gf is Dana, and we have become avid waterfall chasers. We met in the Fall of 2015 and have been together ever since. We’re based out of Spruce Grove, AB. Dana has 2 kids and I have 1 myself, so don’t despair if you are a family…you can accomplish anything we can!
Although I grew up in the great outdoors (lived on a Game farm, went fishing as a kid, etc.) I didn’t continue that life. My daughter and I lived in the city together, not often venturing out beyond its walls. I would say “Humans have spent centuries getting to where they are now…great housing with indoor plumbing…why would I want to go back to the dirt?”. We moved to Stettler in 2010, and by 2011 were introduced to river rafting. One time quickly became 10 times as we found our new niche – floating the Red Deer River – relaxing with a steady stock of beef jerky and raspberries. Nature has a calming effect, and the outdoors became our playground and sanctuary.
In January 2013 we moved to Devon, closer to family. It also brought us closer to my family’s toys, such as my dad’s jetboat. When summer came we started rafting the North Saskatchewan River, then progressed to taking the jetboat upstream. I’ll never forget my first time doing that without Dad…I remembered to remove all the straps, prime the gas, adjust the choke, even push down the lever to ensure the motor would kick up in the event of hitting a rock. In fact out of the 20 steps to launching the boat in the river I only forgot one – the boat plugs. Being a boat-newb I also launched the boat in the middle of the launch instead of politely allowing 2 lanes of traffic, so needless to say there were some unhappy boaters waiting for me to get the boat out of the water and all drained out. In hindsight it might have been better to start out at a nice calm remote lake…with some gentle guidance 😉 Despite the steep learning curve (almost sinking the boat, constant struggles launching the jetboat that doesn’t have reverse into a raging river, even falling out of the jetboat head-first in the rocks, etc.) I soldiered on. If anything, I’m great at throwing myself into my new passions, ready or not!
Then came the gold rush. The price of gold was at an all-time high, and my dad hit me with Gold Fever. With a quick google of how to gold-pan, off I went to strike it rich! It amazed me that there was only so much gold in the world, and in my pan were little shiny specks of it…beautiful pieces of history! However after spending weeks of jetboating upstream to new spots, digging in the dirt, breaking my back, going blind from staring at the tiniest flour gold…all for about $2 worth…I began to get deterred.
While jetboating, my friend introduced me to something new that spawned a whole revolution: Fishing. I would always say “Why go catch a stinky fish when I can just go buy a Filet-O-Fish?”, but when I caught the first one of my adulthood in August 2013 I was instantly hooked. I started talking about fishing more and more, and quickly noticed that my friends and family seemed to have a common theme – there were different species that they had never caught. This amazed me – they had been fishing their whole lives and not even caught them all? Why the heck not? I then decreed that starting January 1st, 2014 I was going to catch one of every species of Alberta in one calendar year! Did I care that I did not know how to tie a knot or remove a hook from a fish myself? Nope! Did I know how many species there are, what they look like and where to find them? Not even close. But with my “ready or not, here I come” attitude I kept to my goal and even started a challenge for my brother and friend to do the same.
According to the Alberta Fishing Guide there were 17 species considered game fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Golden Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Arctic Grayling, Burbot, Goldeye, Lake Whitefish, Lake Sturgeon, Mountain Whitefish, Northern Pike, Walleye, Sauger, and Yellow Perch. My friends and family only knew about 1/3 of them. I had barely any fishing experience and not even much outdoorsman experience for that matter. Little did I know that my new goal would entail travelling all over Alberta, fishing lakes rivers and streams, in open water and ice, utilizing different techniques abiding to the many regulations and strict seasons, and constant battling against Mother Nature. It was a rocky start with my January 1st trip leaving me skunked. With another steep learning curve on my hands, it was all I could do to not to get my lure stuck in my own clothes! But with sheer determination, a little help and a lot of luck, by August 17th I had caught the last species. Goal complete!
I continued to fish, competing in online derbies and reaching #1. My friend had been bugging me to try hunting, so I finally gave in during the Fall of 2015. Walking miles in the bush without a compass, gps, or care in the world, it was another outlet to be out in nature. But being primarily a stream catch-and-release fisherman, hunting wasn’t quite for me. Fishing still had my heart.
Also in the Fall of 2015 I met Dana. I got her and her kids into fishing and had a lot of fun! Then in April 2016 they introduced me to something new – Jasper and waterfalls. Apparently they were big Jasper fans, and were surprised I hadn’t really ever been there. We went to Athabasca Falls, a majestic but commercialized area. It was amazing but I preferred my backcountry spots, remote and serene. Next came Ram Falls on July 2nd while we were fishing, which was an awe-inspiring landscape. Then to fuel the fire, on July 16th we went to Numa Falls (BC) on the way to a wedding. That finally clicked with me, turning my attention from fishing to waterfall chasing. And so the thought emerged: “We’ve already seen 3 waterfalls together…we might as well see every single one in Alberta!”