Eye on the Trail: Telephoto Story – The Cooker

Mandatory Gear Display

Mushers are required to carry certain pieces of equipment during the race.  During the Summer Iditarod Teacher’s Camp held at Vern Halter’s Dream a Dream Dog Homestead, we staged the required gear.  In the photo you’ll see dog food, sleeping bag, trail mail, snow shoes, axe, booties, Heet, vet book, cooker and cooking pot.  A list of the mandatory gear can be found under Rule 16 in the 2018 Official Rules.  Teachers who are forever curious about how things work, got a first hand demonstration from Vern Halter as to how the cooker is used and how efficient it is for heating water to prepare food for the dogs and mushers on the trail.  The demonstration was born of necessity.  Halter was preparing the summer solstice meal – spaghetti.  Spaghetti for 30 people requires a very large pot.  The mandatory pot has to be large enough to bring 3 gallons of water to a boil so it was perfect for Halter’s spaghetti.  The Heet along with some straw or other flammable material is placed in the little loaf pan that slides into the cooker.  Once lit, it delivers intense heat very quickly.  The spaghetti was done in a flash, demonstrating the efficiency of the trail cookers.