Steamboat's Yule Log hunt begins today

Holiday tradition resumes with daily clues for hidden item

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Yule Log clue No. 1

Yule Log clue No. 1

Where judges sit and juries rule

The storied log carved with “yule,”

Was found by the lot where they park.

Follow all clues — it’s a ways to the mark.

To earn a prize, which is nifty

Chamber Bucks, worth one-fifty!

— Holiday puzzle fans, rejoice: Routt County’s annual riddle has returned.

The search for the Steamboat Springs Yule Log begins today, continuing a December tradition that dates back at least 30 years. The hefty Yule Log is hidden somewhere in Steamboat’s city limits, in a public, outdoor place that does not require a fee for entry. At least part of the log is visible. Clues written by three cluemasters from Tread of Pioneers Museum will lead searchers to the log’s location, in a winding path that will unfold as daily clues are published on 10 weekdays, starting today.

“Each clue brings you closer to the log’s hiding place,” said Candice Bannister, the museum’s executive director. “Each day is simply one step closer to the final spot.”

She, museum board member Jayne Hill and curator Katie Adams write the clues.

The clues appear on the Happenings page of the Steamboat Today and will be read on local radio stations.

This year’s search begins where last year’s ended — the parking lot of the Routt County Justice Center, where Sue Petrillo and her daughter, Angie, found the Yule Log hidden at the base of an evergreen tree in the parking lot.

zThe mother-daughter team had been participating in the annual hunt for more than a decade before finally finding success.

In 2008, Randy Nelson found the Yule Log under the boardwalk in Rotary Park. Nelson also found the log in 1995 with help from friend and former Steamboat Springs resident Randy Cochran.

Bannister urged anybody who finds the log to call the museum right away, at 970-879-2214, so other searchers aren’t looking for a log that’s already been found.

The winner will get a $150 gift certificate from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Asso­ciation and a framed historical photograph with a “Yule Log Winner 2010” plaque.

“The log needs to be physically presented to us at the museum to claim the prize,” Bannister said.

If the log is not found before all clues are published, the 10th and final clue would appear Dec. 22.

In some years, even the very first clue contains a subtle hint to the log’s ultimate location. Bannister acknowledged that could, theoretically, be the case this year — or not.

“It’s possible,” she said. “But that’s all I’ll say about that.”

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