Adventuring to Crescent Falls, AB

Want to go on an adventure? We’re going to Crescent Falls!

Crescent Falls is a series of two waterfalls on the Bighorn River in west central Alberta, about 22 Km west of Nordegg.

Inspired by a strong need to get the hell out of Edmonton, and our daughter’s recent trip to the same area, the Hubs and I hit the road on Saturday and ended up there.

The drive is beautiful once you get off the QE2 and start heading west. The prairie landscape always does something magical to me. I open right up and become air.

It’s the rolling hills and soft grasses. The sunshiny canola fields against the brightest blue sky. All that space…nirvana. When the landscape changes to mountain peaks and timber I can barely stand it. Instant tears. Before you know it, I’m making plans to squat in a canvass tent by a river FOREVER!

The falls are down a long highway, then off onto a gravel road. Up, up, up into the trees and finally we’re here.

There is a trail to walk down to the falls but we got our wires crossed, read the info wrong and ended up walking down a gravel road instead. If you go, don’t be dumb, Take the trail. It’s to the right of the parking lot. It’s the better option!

The falls are pretty. Apparently open year round too! I’m coming back for Autumn, most definitely.

There were trails everywhere and in retrospect we should have hiked them if not for any other reason than to get better photos for you guys BUT I was distracted by something else and quickly lost interest.


I spent the next hour in the flow of river and mind, admiring shiny things and enjoying the feel of cool water.

The clouds started rolling in mean and dirty so we cut our visit shorter than I would have liked and hiked up the long ass hill back to the truck. (Seriously, take the trail! ) making friends with this cutie along the way:

Back in the hamlet of Nordegg we ended up a cute little store –Beehive Artisans Market which sits in the same complex and The Miner’s café and the Shell gas station.

OH my word! What a great shop! Clever and eclectic, chock full of interesting local art and products. Produce too. I’m still kicking myself for not buying a painting of the mountains that stole my heart but I did get some yummy stuff. ( I am all about yummy stuff)

I have a honey fetish it would seem as these two different kinds bring my home collection up to four. Who needs 4 tubs of honey? I do apparently. And I regret nothing! Besides, honey literally lasts forever.

The Gull Lake honey is raw, and wildflower in variety. It tastes smooth and the colour is amazing. I like my honey on ice cream! ( I also eat it straight off a spoon without shame) The Chai honey comes from The Chai Wallahs and is divine! So flavourful and spicy! The ginger comes through strong, exactly how I like my chai. I’m looking forward to adding this to tea. Check them out, they have an online shop.

We also picked up some Sylvan Star Cheese. which is always tasty. I’m looking forward to poutine, nom nom nom.

The drive home was uneventful which is good, I guess but I was really hoping to see a storm over the prairie. The thunderstorm watch didn’t evolve into anything worthwhile so BOOOOOO!

In the end, It was a long day but not overly so. We left the the city at 8am, and were home by 6 pm ish. There are so many other inviting places to explore in the area and I know I say this about every new spot I come across but this one is my favourite.

Thanks for coming along!

Acceptance-Kind Of.

Well, I’ve evolved to the making jokes stage of healing so maybe I can write about this mess again!

This mess being THIS POST HERE if you missed it.

It’s been a challenging few months! Trauma, trauma everywhere! I’ve tried to come back and start writing again but my brain just wouldn’t let me put anything decent down. I was blocked at every turn. I kept running into this quote:

It’s SO true! It’s all feelings and emotions and trying to mash that into a story for here has been nigh but impossible. Also, I don’t have hindsight. I’m still living this. BUT so many other things have happened that I can write about. Good things. Fabulous things. Healing things. And I shall, starting with this post now 🙂

Acceptance. My Hubs says my jokes means that I’ve accepted IT.

At first I readily agreed. The crime my dad committed was a real thing that truly happened. I’ve got all the proof ( including secondary real live human confirmation from 3 other people!) He did that.

But I don’t accept it…ya know? Acceptance as in “Willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation” I’m still mad about it. I’ll probably die mad about it too. That’s OK. I’m fine with that. The day I readily accept the death of an 8 year old and her mum is the day I lose my humanity. I don’t know how I could ever tolerate such a thing. ( I feel like scrubbing out my brain though, ugh!)

I do know that I’m doing good now. I’m not 100% but I’m good. My life is FANTASTIC and I’m busy unpacking things and hopefully healing and growing and “levelling up”. My life is so much more than discovering my dad was what he was. My life is so much more than that family secret. It keeps rolling forward, leading me to better and better things.

I’m going to keep writing about that horrible discovery here, as my brain lets me and I’m going to keep writing about the genealogy I’m still doing too. I found my grandparents! I’ve been able to add their real names to that side of my tree! I’ve connected with relatives. The most lovely humans a person could ever hope to meet. ❤ I feel legitimate and rooted in something honorable and important.

Honestly, I also feel extremely self satisfied. Those two assholes thought they could hide what he did. From their family, their friends, their children and their community. And then I came along, ha! They created their worst nightmare. I feel like a little kid when I say this but I don’t care: I’m going to tell EVERYBODY. The secret stops with me.

Part Two: I Never Seriously Saw That One Coming.

You can find Part One: HERE

Trigger Warning for mention of violence.

I don’t really know where to start. What I’m about to tell you is just so awful. I’ve had almost three weeks to live with  this information and while I’ve managed to keep the horror of it all down to a dull roar, the family secret I discovered is not something one gets used to.

My brain keeps shouting “NO!” at me and every time I reach into the knotted mess to find a thread, I find nothing but more knots.

I WANT to tell this story. This is one dark secret that needs to be brought into the light, so let me start with salad?

My last meal before the knowing was the most delicious salad. It was chock full of greens, beets, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. It also had oranges, fresh and dried and the most delicious lemony dressing. It was fresh and cheery! The Hubs and I had baked up a couple of chicken breasts and this meal was the perfect ending to a pretty great day. I ate my salad curled up on my couch, enjoying the Springtime sun shining through my window. I basked in it’s gentle warmth and felt…damn good. Content with my lot.  I still had the taste of that salad on my tongue when I opened up my laptop, logged into my ancestry account and typed in my father’s name.

Now that I had his real name, I figured I’d finally get some information about that side of my family! I was excited! I still had to deal with why my parents changed our last name and why they lied about it but, my main focus had always been finding my Metis roots so the lying nonsense could wait.

Along with my father’s name I typed his birth date and birthplace, an obscure little hamlet in northern Alberta. Lots of possibilities came up and I checked each one out diligently coming up with a maybe in one person with the same last name, living in another hamlet near my father’s hometown. Could be a relative!

Nothing in birth records…nothing in death…oh! Maybe a marriage? I knew he’d been married before and the union had been annulled. I added the information to my file and continued on, coming upon a news clipping. I almost didn’t click the link because sometimes the news clippings are on another site that requires further payment. Maybe the secret played on my mind or maybe it was my intuition because I took a chance on that link and found full access to an old newspaper page!

Woot Woot! My lucky day.

I scrolled to the highlighted section and my heart thudded to a stop in my chest.

“Dangerous Escapee Recaptured” the headline stated.

My eyes alit on the five words highlighted so helpfully:

My father’s first name. My father’s middle name. My father’s last name. Murder. The obscure hamlet where my father was born.

I knew.

I felt it in my body as my stomach clenched.

The truth.

I jumped up and thrust my laptop at my Hubs whilst a long scream? moan? keening? of disgust escaped me.

“What!? What?!” he demanded, most startled by the noise I was making and my sudden pacing and hand wringing.

Bless his sweet heart to be so concerned about me instead of my OBVIOUS REQUEST TO READ WHAT I COULDN’T SPEAK ALOUD.

“Read it!!” I managed to force out between my clenched teeth.

“Oh!” I heard him say next. Then again with solemn understanding “Ooooh”

He continued on with the details and this is what I heard ” Mental hospital escapee. Implicated in double murder eight years ago. Extremely dangerous. Not guilty by reason of insanity. A mother. Her child. Beaten to death in their beds. “

Looks like I solved the name change mystery!

Disgust and outrage hit me first. Then realization after realization flooded in. ” I left my children with him!” My husband would later chuckle kindly at me about this and tell me ” YOU were left with him!” I went through every emotion and went off, in every direction. Words and feelings pouring out of me until thankfully, blissfully, the shock gently took over and I became numb.

I messaged both my kids and right away my daughter started researching. My Hubs did too and within minutes, MINUTES, they found me some more information. Including all my father’s court documents. Right there on the front page of The Google.

My man, my wonderful man found the final proof that evening: Court papers with my father’s real last name (mine too!) and the new one. The name I grew up under. Ooof.

There was one last surprise left for me to discover and this is the one that absolutely broke me. I had been emotional and teary yes, but this new fact had me sobbing and spitting with rage…

My father had raped the little girl too.

Well. You Don’t Need A DNA Test Surprise…

to destroy your peace of mind!

Buckle up. I’m about to tell you a little story called ” I Never Seriously Saw This One Coming” in two parts.

PART ONE A: The Backstory.

Once upon a time, there was a woman named ELLLE ( It’s Meeeeee) who’d grown up with two toxic people.

I am totes adorbs.

The toxicity and abuse was a mixture of every day “soft” cruelty and major traumatic events. There was an under current of fear, unease and general ick in the day to day and Ellle made a promise to herself to detach herself from her parents as soon as she could. Ellle had a beautiful Baby in her late teens and thought to herself ” Aha! This is my ticket away from these awful people!”

Beautiful Boy,

But Ellle’s mother fell in love with the Boy, and turned on the charm. It was a LOVE BOMBING and because Ellle was so young and needed support, because she’d grown up in such a fucked up environment ,she thought maybe she’d just imagined the years of abuse and trauma. She’d just discovered that parenting was really hard and she’d already made mistakes. She’d want to be forgiven for her mistakes so she forgave her parents for their mistakes and life was pretty good. Ellle’s mother was busy being enamored with the BABY and Ellle’s father having grown old and seemingly feeble, lived his life in a chair, filing metal things and plotting his own escape.

Things were good for a number of years until the new on the Baby wore off. Soon, Ellle’s mother was back to her old tricks but this time, with the help of a wise friend, Ellle saw these tricks for what they were. She started to set boundaries and when a boundary was crossed, Ellle went No Contact and lost her entire family in the fall out. Ellle’s mother was reeeeally good at playing the victim and play it she did! She retaliated by stalking Ellle, trying to cause trouble with the school district and sending her letters through a LAWYER, threatening to sue her for visits with her grandchildren.

Ellle held firm and eventually the woman who birthed her gave up and left her alone.

It’s been about 17 years and Ellle regrets nothing. It was the right choice ❤

Part One B: The FIRST Big Surprise

Alright. You remember that I was waiting for some papers from the government? They came!

My dad’s death certificate arrived first, which pleased me greatly! Now I can obtain his birth documents and catch a lead toward the rest of my ancestors. I’ve searched and searched with the names my parents gave me but haven’t been able to come up with a damn thing, so I was thinking I heard wrong. Maybe.

Days later the photocopy of my birth registration arrived. This is the official, registered photocopy of the form my parent filled out when I was born.

I was expecting to see one of four names: 1. The last name I grew up under. (The one I suspected was borrowed from my mother’s family.) 2. Sutherland. The name both my parents told me was my dad’s step father’s name that he’d taken as a child. 3. Sinclair. My dad’s mother’s maiden name. 4. Gauthier. My dad’s biological father’s last name.

Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Can you guess what name was on my birth registration?


I was born under an entirely different last name.


It’s a name so out of left field, that when I saw it, I shrieked. I’ve neeeeeever heard it! It was never mentioned in my household and it was NEVER brought up when I asked my parents about our people. Never. Ever. Ever.

I was stunned. And then I got curious. So I went searching with these question in mind:

Who the hell am I? What else is a lie?! Why lie in the first place? What are they hiding?

Well. I found out. Oh my, did I ever find out!

And you will too, in Part Two, coming up shortly.

It came. I Spat. It Left.

A DNA kit is smaller than I expected. Just a tiny box!

Here’s what’s inside:

Spit Tube

The instructions are clear:

At first glance the little tube seems HUGE and you wonder how on earth you’re going to be able to produce that much spit! In reality, it’s got a false bottom of sorts. It only took me a few mouthfuls. Your results may vary. There’s even a wide funnel on the top of the receptacle to really get it all in there! Once you’ve filled the tube to the line, you take the funnel off and screw the top on tight. You should hear a click.

The top contains blue liquid that stabilizes your spit. It will flow into your spit. Once its all in there…Shake, shake, shake and into the bag it goes. You package it all up nice and secure in the postage paid box Ancestry provides and pop it into any local mailbox. Easy peasy!

Bye Bye Spit!

Ancestry DNA says results take 6 to 8 weeks from the time they receive it. I read online that they’ve got a backlog of tests due to high demand sooooo, I’m setting my expectations to….sometime in June. Just in time for my birthday, woot woot!

So far my Ancestry experience has been decent. I paid full price for my kit because I’m too impatient to wait for one of their frequent sales but I’ve seen their sale price marked at ninety nine dollars. So not too bad. I think I paid one hundred and fifty four dollars by the time it was all said and done.

When I activated my kit I was given the option to maintain a genealogy account with them for one dollar until June ..something. So I took them up on on their offer of that too!

So far I’d recommend them!

Waiting on the Government.

Quite some time ago, I sent away for a copy of my dad’s death certificate AND a copy of my birth registration.

My reflection looks most plum like

With the death certificate I can apply to obtain my dad’s birth records which will hopefully give me some family names to go on. I’m so excited!!

It’s been ten days and nothing yet but the documents are coming from another province and ten days turn around time ought to be expected, according to my sources. Still…I’m stalking my mail carrier every day to make sure I don’t miss him! ( I’ve got to sign for these ones)

Also, I’m nervous! What if they don’t release them to me? What if there’s a problem? What if ?! What if?! What if!? Aaaaaahhhh!

I’ve requested a copy of my birth registration for a number of reasons:

1. So I can prove ( or disprove, one never knows what one will find!) that my dad is my dad and thus will be eligible to obtain his birth records.

2. So I can see what name he was living under at the time. Will it be his birth name? Will it be the name I grew up under? This record should show that and hopefully help me head off any troubles with a name change and his birth records.

3. I can see what name I was born under! It’s entirely possible that I was born under a different name and my parents changed it when they changed theirs. It’ll also give me a timeline for when the name change occurred. If I was born under the name I grew up with, then it’s likely the family name was changed sometime between when my parents married and the birth of me!

My dad could have also changed his name on his own before meeting my mother but I doubt that. My family name is the same as her beloved grandmother’s maiden name. That’s too close to be a coincidence!

I could be wrong. But I don’t see how a Mètis man would come to have a Scandinavian last name. My intuition tells me I’m right. I got goosebumps and all the hair on me stood STRAIGHT UP when I made the discovery. I want confirmation!

Waiting, waiting, waiting…this is a good lesson in patience.

What Will I Find?

In every article I’ve read about taking any of the most common DNA tests available to the public, the refrain is always the same ” You may be opening yourself up to some unexpected hurt”. People tell all kinds of stories from discovering their mother had an affair to learning the fertility clinic used doctor sperm instead of dad’s or an anonymous chosen donor. We’ve all heard those tales! Here’s the thing:

My first family was most fucked up anyway! I’m not really worried about something unexpected hurting me because I expect there will be surprises that may hurt me. That’s just how my family rolls! With that being said here are some things that are wiggling around in my brain as possibilities:

  1. My dad is not my dad. I’d be pissed off to have been lied to, to have been forced to live a lie and I’d be heartbroken to learn I wasn’t Metis. Absolutely. I don’t have too many romantic thoughts and feelings left about my dad though so this one isn’t too bad, other than the Metis thing. That one worries me.
  2. I unearth another sibling! I already have a half sister, through my mother. ( We don’t talk. She thinks the whole lot of us are “fucked up” which made me laugh and laugh because she thought this was an insult but I’m right there in agreeance with her, ha!) ANYway, I would not be surprised to find out my dad fathered other children. Not one iota. But its ok, its not like there’s an inheritance I have to share or anything. This one might be interesting.
  3. I unearth new relatives and unwittingly introduce “bad” people into my life. Now this one…this one is totally valid. I feel like it’d be easy for me to get caught up in the belonging. To idealize and romanticize people and cover my eyes to their true natures. Now, their true natures could just be that they’re human. That’s bad enough! It’d be worse if they were legit monsters.  Something to guard against and prepare for. Shields up 😉
  4. My queries and results bring my mother’s family out of the woodwork which brings her out of the woodwork with a vengeance. The woman has stalked me before and tried to stir up shit in my life but eventually she always crawls back under her rock when she doesn’t get a response. I’m hoping that still holds true but one never knows. I’ve learned I can never let my guard down when it comes to her. My original plan was to put off the DNA test until she’d died but fuck that! I’m prepared and protected. I am a force of nature after all.
  5. (This one is my favourite); My mother turns out to not be my mother! I’d have this fantasy for quite some time. Either, my parents adopted me OR my dad knocked up some chick and my mother agreed to take the baby and raise it. It would explain why my mother hated me so much…and why I don’t look anything like my sister. In the first option I’d lose my connection to my identity but who can say…it might be worth it? In the second scenario, I’d win all around! And it would explain SO much.
  6. I find out nothing new or extraordinary and I waste my money on a fruitless endeavor. Gah! This one might actually be the worst! Not so much the money wasted but an anticlimactic ending would mean I’ve been imagining family secrets and creating whole narratives out of thin air. I’d be wrong. The HORROR! Hehehehe.

Time will tell! 🤷‍♀️

The Unknown

I know almost nothing about my dad’s family save for a few unconfirmed odds and ends. None of this information leads to anywhere useful and I find myself unable to just not know. I’ve always been nosy lady!

I can go back to 1790 something on my mother’s side, in Sweden of all places. I can go back to 1700 something on my husband’s side, in England. But I can’t find anything, not one tiny little thing on my Metis family here in Canada? That’s just not right. So I’m going to make it right!

My dad had a rough life and talking about his past and his family was difficult and traumatizing for him. I think he had a lot of shame about who he was and there were some family problems too. The story goes that he left home by throwing a chair at his mother before walking out the door.

Why would he do such a thing? Welllll, according to legend, my dad caught his mother in bed with another man, pulled a gun on the two of them and was sent to the local residential school/orphanage as punishment.


He’s dead and gone now but my desire to know is not!  Lucky for me I’ve learned that I can obtain his death certificate, and apply to get his birth certificate which should have his parents information too.  I’m definitely going to do that!

I’ve got a few potential roadblocks to get through though. My dad’s paternal biological contributor wasn’t in his life and my dad was either born under a different name or had it changed when his mother married. That may cause some problems. I do have a name for his bio contributor so maybe not? I guess we’ll see!

There is also reason to believe that he and my mother took one of her family names as their own last name when they married so there’s some monkey wrenches to navigate there too! Ugh!This is why I’ve done a thing…

Eeeek! I’m so nervous! A DNA test!

It’s taken me three months to work up the courage to do this. I’m not so much worried about unearthing the dead as I am the living. I’ve got family members I’d prefer to keep in the graves I’ve dug for them.

Metaphorically speaking of course.

I wonder who’s out there? I wonder what’s going to turn up? 🤷‍♀️ Stay tuned to find out!

Spring Ellle

My name is Ellle. A play on the first letter of my real name -ooooh so mysterious! I’m in my late 40s, use she/they pronouns and am a bit of a dork.

I swear a lot depending on my mood and often act like a little kid. I’m pretty young at heart: coughcough-its-probably–the-trauma-and-arrested-development-coughcough. But considering I hang out with two of my little loves five days a week, it’s no wonder!

The theme of things here will evolve and develop seasonally with me. (Hence the name) I’m probably consistent in some places but honestly I’m rarely in the same mood/mental space twice so I think it’s best if I just flow and glide and write from myself as myself whoever that may be. I’m strongly influenced by the natural world and trying to fight that never ends well! ( Winter Ellle is a trip)

Spring Ellle is bright,hopeful, inspired and full of motivation!

The longer,warmer days and melting snow leaves me feeling like I’ve taken a party drug so expect lots of enthusiasm and what some of you might call weirdness.

A few other things:

BLM,ACAB, LGBTQ2S friendly,firmly on the Left,pro abortion- the same way I’m pro healthcare of any kind, neurodivergent,  intersectional feminist, Anti religion, science minded witchy chick.

Science IS Magic.

I’m also a meme queen 😁 and have a silly,dark sense of humour.

If anything above offends you or fills your heart and mind with a strong and raging heat then you probably won’t be comfortable here. That’s OK!

If you choose to stay and can ” be cool”…

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here and it’s an absolute delight to meet you! 💚