Montana Public Radio

'This Much Country' With Kristin Knight Pace

Jul 9, 2020

"This Much Country . . . is a story about starting from scratch, stripping away all but necessity and living by animal instincts to find life’s richness. From the first time Kristin hooks up a dog team to the moment she roars across the finish line of the Iditarod, readers witness the chaos of starting over in the din of barking, lunging dogs and the peaceful resolution of 15 dogs moving in unison as the Kristin comes to her own realizations about what it means to be wildly singular."

Kristin is an energetic interviewee, offering insights on how she landed in Alaska, as well as what eventually called her to leave. In this conversation, she also discusses her hardships, good instincts, and of course, the dogs. 

This Much Country

To hear the full conversation with Kristin Knight Pace about her memoir, "This Much Country," click the link above or subscribe to our podcast.

About the Book:

The Yukon Quest and the Iditarod are 1,000-mile sled dog races on some of the most challenging trails in the world.  They can take up to two weeks to complete in the harshest conditions imaginable. Only 29 women have successfully completed both races, and Kristin Knight Pace is one of them. With This Much Country, she has written one of the most beautiful, affecting memoirs I have ever read.  

In 2009, after a crippling divorce that left her heartbroken and directionless, Kristin decided to accept an offer to live at a friend's cabin outside of Denali National Park in Alaska for a few months.  In exchange for housing, she would take care of her friend's eight sled dogs. That winter, she learned that she was tougher than she ever knew. She learned how to survive in one of the most remote places on earth and she learned she was strong enough to be alone.  She fell in love twice: first with running sled dogs, and then with Andy, a gentle man who had himself moved to Alaska to heal a broken heart.    

Kristin and Andy married and started a sled dog kennel.  While this work was enormously satisfying, Kristin became determined to complete the Iditarod -- the 1,000-mile dogsled race from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast.

Kristin Knight Pace
Credit Scott Chesney / Tailspin Media

About the Author:

Kristin Knight Pace was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated with honors from The University of Montana with a degree in photojournalism. After writing for several newspapers and magazines, she left the publishing world to lead a life worth writing about—one of adventure. In 2009, she took to the road with her two dogs and drove north to Denali National Park, where her quiet life revolved around the nurturing of 10 dogs and the maintenance of a remote cabin. What was supposed to be a five-month stay turned into years on end, and now she has found and married the love of her life, become the Lead Backcountry Ranger for Denali National Park, and realized her dream of running dogs through the wilderness of Alaska. Kristin finished the 2015 Yukon Quest and the 2016 Iditarod.