A shared sense of purpose
The Hi-Lakers were founded in 1958 by three friends, John Higgins, Rudy Werth and Art McPherson, who loved the high lakes – the scenery, the challenge, the fishing and the camaraderie – and wanted to share their enjoyment with others.
The Club was small in the early days. Membership requirements included annual backpacking trips to areas over 3,000 feet of elevation, sharing information on routes and fish caught to active members on request, and cleaning up litter. The spirit of those rules remains with the club today, though not as formal requirements.
The Hi-Lakers Creed, a one-page document from 1991 or possibly a few years earlier, author unknown, describes the club’s origins and activities. It begins with the words of poet Robert Service:
In the 1980’s the Club rebuilt and for about 15 years maintained the Granite Mountain Lookout near Snoqualmie Pass. More recently, the club initiated efforts to test whether introducing predator fish into overpopulated lakes can reduce the number of stunted fish, and thus improve fishing.
Virg Harder has written a narrative of his experiences of becoming a Hi-Laker and seeing the club evolve from 1964 to 2006. Thank you Virg for the time capsule.
The Hi-Lakers celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2008. Membership numbers have varied greatly over the decades, as has the flavor of the club. Every decade brings its own highlights. But the alpine lakes and mountains remain a constant. Today the club has more members than ever, about 120, with an average of about 25 in attendance at the monthly meetings.
The Hi-Lakers would like to thank Bob Pfeifer, former Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife biologist and Hi-Laker member, for his countless contributions to high lakes fishing. Bob conducted extensive surveys of Washington’s high lakes, also painstakingly producing many bathymetric maps which live on in our database today. We’ll also continue to enjoy the wealth of Bob’s photos from documentary-style shots of inlets, high-flying aerials, memories with other legendary friends, or just plain beautiful ones. We are indeed left with a priceless legacy.