Katherine was born in Minnesota and lived there until completing high school. Katherine has never been a gal to sit around for very long. During her high school years she was determined to be an archaeologist and spent her summers at archaeology camps in Illinois and then Pompeii, Italy. While she participated in year round sports her favorite activity during that time was rock climbing. Her rock climbing interests took her all over the USA. She climbed up Devils Tower, the Needles in South Dakota, Vee-Da-Voo in Wyoming, then Colorado, Arizona, etc. She also loved to hike out into the wilderness which led her to go on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1998 -on a solo quest- to hike from the Mexico border to Canada.
At this point Katherine turned 21 and decided that it was time to pursue her long time dream of going to Alaska. She had always dreamed of flying a bush plane, eating caribou, running dogs, and having a camp in the Brooks Range. After purchasing an old ice cream truck she drove up to Alaska to pursue this dream. Upon reaching the state, and having little gas money left, she choose to go south to Seward and find a job. She worked as a sea kayak guide and then as a dog handler at a glacier which gave sled dog rides to tourists. This instilled a love for dogs and driving dog teams that never went away. As winter came along Katherine accepted a job up in Kotzebue working for Iditarod musher Ed Iten. Kotzebue immediately became home as Katherine found a husband with whom she built a log home 20 miles out of town (accessible only by boat or snowmachine). They soon started a family, however sadly, tragedy soon struck as their first baby died at only one month old. 23 years old Katherine then suffered through the loss of her husband the year after. She was blessed with having a second child, Amelia who gave Katherine good reason to keep fighting.
This fighting spirit pushed Katherine to start over with her life by enrolling in college in Fairbanks where she got her Pilot's License and became an EMT to ensure that she was ready for any situation she found herself in. Katherine majored in Renewable Energy Engineering, which was an interdisciplinary degree program that she created in order to achieve the education she wanted. The costs of energy are simply too high in Bush Alaska and she wanted to do something about that.
Training became an emotional outlet for Katherine. The races became small goals that she could focus on and every day work towards it with a feeling of accomplishment. Gradually the losses she had to bear became fuel for her to consciously choose every day to live as fully as possible. Balancing a full time career with full-time education and full-time training was always difficult as Katherine's first priority was being a full-time single mom.
The races came and went, the career in renewable energy positions grew, until Katherine was lucky enough to find a partner in life again, John Baker-2011 Iditarod Champion and lifelong resident of Kotzebue. Together Katherine and John raised and trained over 40 dogs as they focus on having the best dog kennel in the world. Katherine began racing dogs herself in 2012 and soon realized that Iditarod was on her bucket list. She began competing in the races she needed to qualify for the 2014 Iditarod. Katherine and John now own a number of small businesses including Remote Solutions, LLC which allows them to professionally help meet the needs of rural Alaska. They fly to their camps with a Cessna 206 and certainly eat much Caribou! So, while being slightly outside of the Brooks Range, that dream of young Katherine's is far better in reality than it ever was as a dream.
To summarize, through Katherine's endurance efforts, she hopes to be a light in the darkness for others who are struggling to take the first step in saying YES to life every single day despite all those things weighing us down. By working hard for her dreams, many have come true and she is actively dreaming up more things to do! Phoenix Racing embodies this message and captures the essence of Katherine's journey through life.