What caused Sam to go down into town and start a conversation with Mr. Jacket in My Side of the Moutain?
At the time, Sam is not sure what causes him to go down into town and start a conversation with Mr. Jacket. It is the twenty-third of November, and winter has fallen. On that day, Sam says,
"I did something which took me by surprise. I smelled the clean air of November, turned once more to see how the back of my suit looked, and walked down the mountain. I stepped over the stream on the stones. I walked to the road...Before I could talk myself out of it, I was on my way to town".
Sam's action in going to town is clearly impulsive, probably brought about by a sudden awareness of loneliness and a longing for human companionship. He at first pretends to himself that he is simply going to the library, but he knows that it is Sunday, the day the library is closed. When Sam arrives in town, he tries not to attract attention, but his unusual garb immediately draws the curiosity of those whom he passes - dressed as he is, Sam is "not exactly what everybody (sees) everyday". He spies the drugstore, and hurriedly walks towards it to escape the stares of the people. In the drugstore, as he is perusing a comic book, Sam meets "Mr. Jacket", "a young man (his) age".
Mr. Jacket is friendly and talkative, and he asks Sam a lot of questions. Sam briefly explains what he is doing, and invites Mr. Jacket to come up to the Gribley farm to visit sometime. When he returns back to his camp, Sam reflects that "It was nice to see people again". Still unsure of his own motives for having gone into town that day, Sam tells Frightful that he "made a friend today" and wonders if "that is what (he) had in mind all along" ("Trouble Begins").