Richard Crosbie Humphreys, 62, died on May 3, 2012 at his home in St. Francisville, Louisiana. He was recently retired from LSU Facility Management as campus Arborist, a position he loved. Richard worked at Madison Springs Hut in 1967 and on the AMC Trail Crew. He was a native of Boston, MA.
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Ellen McFarland Humphreys, daughter, Katherine Humphreys and son, William Humphreys, sisters, Karla McGrath and Valerie Lowe.
He was a graduate from University of Massachusetts and LSU. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Building Fund, P.O. Box 27, St. Francisville, LA 70775.
It is June 2015, and I am going to Pinkham tomorrow for some hiking. The problem: I miss really Dick.
Dick was my hiking buddy and HS classmate. At a drop of a hat, we’d be in the car, off for another hiking adventure. Peak bagging, same on us, hahaha. In his parent’s Nash Rambler. We did so many hikes together over several years (and too much bushwacking, without of course cutting anything) before working in the huts. On one hike we slept next to the trail between South Twin and Guyot, since it got too dark to reach Guyot shelter: We were too poor to stay at Galelhead. Even with gas 25 cents a gallon back then. Sleeping bags half straddled the trail. Only krummholz around. Slept OK, well, until next morning when several through-hikers went past (more correctly over) us. OK, time to put the Dinty Moore can of stew (our breakfast) away and get hiking again. No high tech freeze-dried food for us back then. I remember the scene so clearly still when we stood up. The clouds were below our position and filled the valleys in all directions as a great sea, with only the mountains peaks sticking up about its surface like isolated islands, and the sky clear blue above.
One day In early August 1966 Dick and I walked into Bruce Sloat’s Pinkham office, asking for a job. There we stood on one side of the long counter while Bruce, standing and listening, eyed us from the other side. He was definitely bigger than us…. We were looking really grungy from several days hiking. The night before we had bushwhacked our way off Tom, Field and Willy, having lost the trail up high in the dark, and resorted to following a brook down to the old Crawford Notch inn. Slept in a clump of trees to be out of sight. Though the next morning we discovered we actually were in the middle of the golf course that used to be on the other side of the road from the inn. Well, back to Bruce..as he was eyeing us, he must have had a task in mind already, appropriate task for us that is (…Bruce was always very task/performance outcome oriented…), since he immediately said “yes” to jobs…..only on the condition that we could stay until third week of September. Now I guess, that despite our appearance or because of it, he must have thought we could carry a load and not mind grunt work, i.e fit his upcoming labour needs. Our hearts paused. See, that summer we were just high school sophomores becoming juniors, and school started early the first week of September. Were we still too young to work away from home? Dick was confident, before we went into the office his attitude was “got to try anyways”, and handle the consequences later. What would our parents say???? Do we even dare phone them to ask? and skip school too? Ee gads! Never! Home rule: school and learning always had top priority. Dick’s parents were first to get tested. Over the phone we heard “YES, you may.” Our hearts skipped a beat for joy. “OK, Dick, tell them “the condition””. Double unexpected whammy and they still didn’t mind saying OK …to missing school!!. Dick and I were simultaneously stunned and ecstatic They called my parents to discuss the matter. Shortly later we got return call with yes from all. And so we learned more about our “conservative” parents: they loved the mountains, and had had their own fine experiences in the Whites, even staying in the old shed chained to summit of Mt. Washington in the 1930’s, and the AMC too, and so “rules” gave way to “precious experiences.” To this day I am still surprised and thankful at how they reacted.
So Bruce started us working construction crew (grungy grunt work?), re-roofing a sleeping cabin at Carter (we learned some new, not quite polite expressions and stores over dinner from the more senior crew members), and then Dick and I were put on closing crew for several huts. And as it happened, first two weeks of school is just review, and we didn’t really miss anything. By the time we got back the other students were already sad to be in school and getting bored, while we are recharged and raring to learn, just as the really new stuff started. And our grades were fine.
Later summers Dick was at Madison while I was at Galehead.
I wish Dick were hiking with me this weekend.
Thank you for that memory. Rich told us that story once or twice – nice to hear from another perspective. I will be sure my kids see this. William and Rich never hiked in new Hampshire together, but Katherine has on several occasions with her dad; we family camped in the campgrounds when the kids were small; he loved it. Susan Winter posted this here.