Search is over

Oak Creek family deciphers clues, discovers the Yule Log

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— The Yule Log, hidden at the bottom of the steps to the Steamboat Ski Touring and Snow Shoeing Center, was discovered Thursday morning by Glen Farrell and taken back to a home that has hosted the log numerous times in the past decade.

The Farrell family has made it a holiday tradition to find the log, which is hidden by representatives from the Tread of Pioneers Museum every year. For most of the year, the log stays at the museum, but for the days between now and Christmas, it will be at the Farrells' home in Oak Creek.

Glen Farrell telephoned the museum Thursday morning at about 10 a.m. to tell the workers of his discovery, said museum director Marty Woodbury.

Farrell will receive $100 from the museum when he returns the log. The money will be presented in the form of a chamber gift certificate, good at any chamber member.

But finding the Yule Log this year was no easy task.

Farrell said he thought he had a good idea of where the log was located, but a recent clue sent him back to the drawing board.

"For days I could have bet money that it was at the hospital, but (Wednesday's) clues blew that one out of the water," Farrell said.

It wasn't until he deciphered Thursday's clue and put all of the previous clues together that he realized the Yule Log's location at the touring center.

Farrell said the search for the Yule Log was a combined effort among his wife, cousins and brother-in-law.

Shaunna Watterson, Farrell's cousin, found the log last year.

"The last 10 years, with maybe a couple of weird years in between, it's been (someone in the family)," Watterson said. "Some years we all work together and see who can get it."

Farrell said he joined in on the Yule Log search in 1993, and he discovered the elusive treasure both in 1993 and 1994.

"It feels good," he said. "I haven't pulled it out of the snow for six years, so it's kind of fun."

Woodbury and Jayne Hill of the museum hid the log this year, offering clues to its whereabouts in the form of four-line poems that were printed in the newspaper and aired on the radio.

"It's a real cloak-and-dagger escapade," Woodbury said, referring to their quest by dark to hide the approximately 60-pound log.

The most successful log hunters have an appreciation for local history, Hill said. She is in her fourth year of writing the clues. This year, it took the family nine clues to nab it.

The winners of the hunt have their names inscribed on the log, Woodbury said.

Farrell said he wanted the Yule Log under his Christmas tree on Christmas morning, so he will probably return the log to the museum on Tuesday.

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