Steamboat Springs Tom Whiddon and Scott Schaffer, community service officers for the city of Steamboat Springs, weren't expecting to find the Yule Log.
"We have been trying to solve clues but really hadn't been looking for it," Whiddon said Thursday.
But each day - before work, at break or at lunch at the Steamboat Springs Police Department - the two talked about the clues released daily and printed in the Steamboat Today. After their brief discussions, the two would go on with their days.
Then came clue No. 7
"Haw? Colors fit for a king," the clue read. "Some might search for eternal spring. Not that far, you'll miss the turn, where snow covers grass and fern."
The clue led the two to Memorial Park behind Steamboat Springs High School. Schaffer said he was patrolling the area Tuesday when he spotted the log. Because he was on duty, Schaffer called Whiddon to let him know the log's location. Whiddon then retrieved the log before any other hunter could find it.
"We really searched very little," Whiddon said. "We talked every morning about where it might be, and then on Tuesday it was like, 'We should go look at that area.'"
As part of the 27th annual Yule Log Hunt, which was sponsored by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Schaffer and Whiddon will be rewarded with a $100 gift certificate and a framed historical photograph adorned with a "Yule Log Winner 2006" plaque.
Whiddon and Schaffer said the best part of the hunt was the clues, written by retired teacher Jayne Hill.
"Jayne Hill does a good job with the clues, but they're tough to decipher," Whiddon said. "She pulls you from one area of the town to the other. Really, it was more happen-stance that we found it."