Hank Hoff, born in Brainerd, Minnesota, became a member of the Trail Blazers in 1937. I became a member in 1939.
He was a terrific hiker. One Trail Blazer tells how Hank would take prospective members to a particular point, put on his leather gloves, then head off into the brush … the others hastened after him, or floundered along on their own.
In the early days, the Trail Blazer membership was a very active group. Meetings were attended by almost every member. Fines were levied for arriving late at a meeting. Members who could not attend were required to phone another member and explain the absence.
My first outing with Hank was overnight to the main Maloney Lake. We started from the Skykomish Ranger Station. I had never been on an overnight trip before. The lake had been stocked two years earlier. I am sure that Hank scrutinized my actions on this trip to help him decide whether I should be invited to become a member.
These early stocking trips were made over 50 years ago. In those early days, almost everyone smoked. At picnics and dances, liquor was a part of the event. We were a small but close, active group. Hank worked for the Northwest Envelope Company, but left to become a postman.
A review of annual reports covering the early years will show many trips that include the name: Hank Hoff.