FINALLY had 2 free nights to sneak away to the catskills to use my hammock and backcountry gear in the woods. The main point of the trip was to test out the gear, a second consideration was to do some scouting for future hunting. Friday night I left work and drove through a storm on the way up. I had checked the weather before I left and it didn't show that and also said 0% for Saturday. I got up to the trailhead at 8 and had about an hour before last light so I quickly threw my pack on and hit the trail. I had to hike around a small lake and then took off along the base of the mountain. The light was quickly fading when I was about 3/4 of a mile back so I quickly left the trail and found a bench on the mountain a couple hundred yards off the trail. The setup went extremely smooth considering it was in the dark and I was settled into my hammock within a 1/2 hour. The next morning I woke up and for the first time in what felt like ever, I had to force myself to remember that I had no reason to rush. Everything in my life is so rush rush rush between work and home right now I really had to stop and slow down. I laid in my hammock for a little while contemplating my thoughts and I'm glad I did because a storm rolled through. I read a book on my phone and cooked up some breakfast while waiting the storm out. After the storm passed I packed up camp. I went down to the stream to stock up on water before I hiked to the top of the mountain. I couldn't believe how crystal clear the water came out of the stream even before I filtered it. I spent the next couple of hours hiking the trail up the mountain and just relaxing and enjoying myself. When I got to the top I took a break and made lunch. I had decided at the top I wanted to scout out this ridge so I made my way over there after lunch. I just happened to get some service on my phone so I called my wife to check in. I pulled up the weather app just to check the wind direction and noticed it said a lighting strike 24 miles away. Huh?!? I looked at the radar and here it came. I quickly broke out my tarp and set it up. I laid my pack down in the middle as a pillow and laid down and took a nap for an hour while the storm passed. When I woke up it was bright and sunny and I figured I was good to go. I packed up again and started exploring again. 15 minutes later the sky opened up on me again. At this point I decided scouting wasn't meant to be. I had to be home around lunch time the next day and I wanted to camp closer to the trail so I had quick access to get down the mountain and home so I made my way back in that direction to set up camp. Setting up camp went even better in the daylight and I was quickly set up and ready. I made some dinner, hung my food away from camp and packed it in. I was laying there reading when all of a sudden I heard a noise like a bag of bricks hitting the ground. I couldn't see because my tarp was down but I'm pretty sure a deer walked up to about 20 yards away before he quickly realized something wasn't right and took off. The weather got down into the high 40's that night and I had a great sleep. I also got to listen to a couple of owls chatting for a while. The next morning I packed up, hiked out and drove home. All in all it was a hugely successful first backcountry trip for me and I am already trying to figure out when I can get back out there. I didn't see much wildlife while I was out there but on my drive in and out I saw 4 does and 2 hen turkeys.