A Look Back on 2013

I’m sure you’ll see about a million of these posts from your favorite outdoor bloggers, but 2013 was such a year that I really can’t not write a review on it. After all, that’s what I do – write reviews.

So, what was 2013 all about? Read on.

Back in February, Rob and I ventured out to South Lake Tahoe for the second time. This time we did things a little differently and flew into Reno rather than San Francisco. It turned out to be a great choice as it let us visit Mt. Rose before heading south. Mt. Rose rocked. In the end though, the trip really ended up having two highlights: I fell in love with snowboarding in trees… and Rob and I got engaged at the summit of Heavenly. I’d call that a good trip. Read more about it in this gigantic winter report.

Yep. Heavenly Mountain proposal right at an elevation of 10,040 ft. So us. (Thank you Greg M from EpixMix!!!)

Yep. Heavenly Mountain proposal right at an elevation of 10,040 ft. So us. (Thank you Greg M from EpixMix!!!)

In March, we grew our family just a little bit with the addition of Kina, an Alaskan Malamute. We should have known by the first picture we ever saw of her that she would be a troublemaker, but we’re (mostly) glad she’s part of our family. She’s spunky, hyper, a total diva, has been battling her human “mom” for alpha role, and seems to love her brother Yuri. Fortunately she’s addicted to snow, hiking, and all things outdoors so she fits our family well! About a million more pictures of her and Yuri are on my Instagram.

Kina at about 12 weeks old.

Kina at about 12 weeks old.

A much bigger Kina now!

A much bigger Kina now!

Somewhere between April and June, my work life changed quite a bit. I finally struck out on my own and pursued a freelance social media and community career. Now seven months later, I can look back and say with certainty that it was a great choice. I work with absolutely wonderful, brilliant, and exuberant people, and I have way more time to devote to focus on this blog and other outdoor ventures. Yay!

As most people know, I’m rather supportive of Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS). In May, I was asked to attend their annual staff training event focused on all things climbing. The entire thing was held at the base of Cathedral Ledge, and it was very hands-on. It was certainly a bit weird being there as a customer instead of staff (that came way later), but it was really interesting to see the passion and enthusiasm these store guides brought to everything they did.

In June, Rob and I committed to being each other’s outdoor partners for life… oh and spouses (we got married). To be accurate, I promised to be his belay partner and first mate on the Jill Poke (his boat). He promised to be my travel partner and find us all the best snowboarding runs. Commence aww-ing now. 😉 Other highlights: We got married in our own backyard, had catering by Red Arrow Diner, and enjoyed a bunch of homemade and locally produced goodies.


Later in June (with just three weeks of marriage completed), we attempted the Penobscot River in Maine. It’s a gnarly river with a lot of attitude and a slew of class V rapids. I was feeling like heck, so I bailed before the second half of the river (technically the first half, but most rafting companies do it backwards). The upside: I got fantastic video of my crew tackling the worst of the Penobscot and one seriously terrifying swim.

Continuing with the water theme, Rob and I finally got our Zydeco kayaks shortly after the wedding. We quickly hit Lake Massabesic and Lake Winnipesaukee. I truly fell in love with our kayaks once we hit Saco River (21 miles with camping gear) and the Merrimack River (class II-III rapids). I love river kayaking… and I love small rapids. Who knew?!

A quiet section of Lake Massabesic. We're hard to miss, huh?

A quiet section of Lake Massabesic. We’re hard to miss, huh?

This was also a summer of climbing, even though I’ve barely mentioned it so far. In July I tried my first ever outdoor lead climb. I failed epically and I was thoroughly pissed at myself since it was a lousy 5.4. But, like all epic fails – it was a learning experience. Finally in October, I jumped on a climb with no goal in mind and sent my first lead climb, a beautiful 5.7 called False Modesty. I’m psyched to get back out next summer and climb more!

Me at the very top of 'False Modesty'. Finally got my first outdoor lead climb in!

Me at the very top of ‘False Modesty’. Finally got my first outdoor lead climb in!

And the final big thing before this year wraps up? I spent some time working in outdoor retail (nights and weekends). While that certainly doesn’t sound like something to celebrate, it’s been quite the research project getting a chance to be on the other side of the consumer experience. I’ve had a great time learning more about the types of folks who use outdoor gear (it’s not always what you’d expect) and learning more about the people who devote their lives to the outdoor industry. There will certainly be some posts on all of this soon!

2014 looks like it already has a lot in store, so we shall see what it brings. I’ll post about my 2014 plans soon!

What were the highlights of 2013 for you?

4 thoughts on “A Look Back on 2013

    1. Haha! Kina loved that jacket, and I’m so glad Amble is enjoying it now. Hopefully all of us and our pups will get to meet one of theses days! Can’t wait!

      Hope your 2014 is as good as 2013, if not better!

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About Jillian Bejtlich

Hey! I'm Jillian Bejtlich. I’m a lifelong New Englander with a serious love of the outdoors, adventure, and a pretty serious inability to sit still. I’m plagued by the travel bug, and it seems I’ll try any relatively sane and safe thing once. My big goal in life: Get people outside!