It finally rained! After staying dry all the way from Glencliff, NH, I finally had to deal with the stuff today. Or really, last night. I had to keep my sleeping bag away from the side mesh on the tent, as the pounding rain had moistened it. Technically my sleeping bag isn't supposed to get wet, but we are in the woods. I performed the rainy day version of my morning routine, getting all packed up before I went up to the cabin. Inside, there was already a line for pancakes. Oh, but they were so worth it. They were just slightly crispy and so good. I knew today would be a good day from the start. I said goodbye to the hoard of nobos and was on my way. My legs were feeling pretty heavy after the past several days of high mileage. I began to reassess my plans for the day. A couple days ago, I told my friend Sami that I was walking through western Massachusetts. He volunteered to come visit me! So we made plans to meet up tonight in Great Barrington. Last night, hubris took over and decided I could cover another 30 or so miles today. Luckily, there were shorter options for getting in to Great Barrington. I quickly decided I would take the first one, making the day's haul a still-respectable 19 miles. Soon, I passed a couple of nobos who were just coming out of town. They told me the Monument Mountain Motel had reasonable hiker rates, and my interest was piqued. Over the past few days, the influx of nobos filling up shelters, campsites, and the trail in general has been overwhelming me. Believe it or not, I never feel like I have alone time! I knew a motel stay would be a cure for that itch, so I made a plan in my head. I hiked the rest of the way, dreaming of a fluffy bed all my own. And TV. And a shower. The deal was sealed. It's hard to be thrifty when things are so convenient and you're tired. I think back to the days of the hundred-mile wilderness and remind myself I have had it both ways. Anyways, I got a hitch right off the bat from a guy who is heading up to Pierce Pond in Maine tomorrow. Pierce Pond that's right on the AT! We were kindred spirits. He dropped me off at Price Chopper where I bought my town food on the cheap, considering my other expense of the day. I walked the short distance to the hotel, cream cheese pastry in hand, and secured a room. So now I lay, scantily-clad, in a surprisingly nice motel room with the weather channel on as noise in the background.
After a few hours of motel room relaxation, Sami pulled up out front. It was surreal to see someone I knew from the real world, let alone someone I hadn't seen in over a year. He came into the room for a show-and-tell about all my gear, chuckling at my stories from the trail. We then drove to the bustling (just kidding) downtown of Great Barrington, where we found a mexican place for dinner. We caught up on each other's lives and just shot the breeze. I can't overstate how nice it was to relax and laugh with an old friend. After dinner, being a real person with a real job, Sami had to hit the road to get back home for work in the morning. We waved goodbye and just like that, he was gone. I was sad for a moment until I remembered that there were 50 channels of TV to watch. I settled into bed and watched Tosh.0 just as if I were at home, sleep unable to catch hold amidst the stimulus from the glowing box in the corner of the room. All is well.
Woops! In the first half of the day, I was dead-set on getting to town, and in the second half I was engrossed in conversation. So I didn't take any photos. But Sami was really here!!