Our Name

You might ask “Where did the name Tangle Creek come from?  Seems sort of out of place for an Oil & Gas company”.

During a trip to the Canadian Rockies in 1907, Rudyard Kipling came across an interesting spectacle, which he later described in his book Letters of Travel 1892-1913:

As we drove along the narrow hill road a piebald pack-pony with a china-blue eye came round a bend, followed by two women, black-haired, bare-headed, wearing beadwork squaw jackets and riding straddle.  A string of pack-ponies trotted through the pines behind them.

“Indians on the move?” Said I. “How characteristic!”

As the women jolted by, one of them very slightly turned her eyes, and they were, past any doubt, the comprehending equal eyes of the civilised white woman which moved in that berry brown face.

That same evening, in an hotel of all luxuries, a slight woman in a very pretty evening frock was turning over photographs, and the eyes beneath the strictly arranged hair were the eyes of the woman in the beadwork jacket who had quirted the piebald pack-pony past our buggy.

Kipling was describing the dichotomy of the lady he had observed.  In the drawing rooms of Philadelphia she was to her acquaintances the cultured, charming and talented Mrs. Mary Townsend Sharples Schäffer; in the wilds of the Canadian Rockies she was to the Stoney Indians Yahe-Weha,  “Mountain Woman”.

Mary Schäffer was a sophisticated lady married to a doctor who’s hobby was cataloguing alpine flora.  Over the course of numerous annual excursions to the Rockies in the late 1800’s, Mary fell in love with the wild country.  Following Dr Schäffer’s death in Philadelphia, Mary continued to travel to Calgary, Banff and the nearby mountains.   She eventually married a local outfitter and settled in Banff.

Mary undertook many lengthy expeditions in the Rockies and on one of these trips – she was seeking a mountain route from Lake Louise to Jasper.  Such a trail existed but it was “known by few” and her research and discussions with the local Indians led her over Wilcox pass, following a creek into the Sun Wapta valley.  A good day’s work over the toughest section of that creek led her to christen it “Tangle Creek”.

In 1911 Mary published the book, “Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies”  and wrote an account of an expedition to reach Maligne Lake in an unpublished manuscript entitled “A Hunter of Peace”.  In 1980, the unpublished manuscript and the original book were combined and published as “A Hunter of Peace – Mary Schäffer’s Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies”.

Today her trail defines the course of one of the most spectacular highway’s in the Rockies – “the Icefields Parkway” which runs between Lake Louise and Jasper.  You can see Tangle Creek and the Tangle Creek waterfall from that highway.

The Tangle Creek name is meant to embody the energy, the spirit of adventure, the perseverance and the success we aim to achieve in our company.