Steamboat Springs Glenn Light’s routine jog during his lunch hour from his job at Moots started to feel like an adventure Wednesday afternoon.
It had nothing to do with the bright blue skies or the day’s slightly warmer temperatures but instead with Light's search for the Yule Log this year.
Jogging along the Yampa River Core Trail, Light started thinking about this year’s first three clues for the annual scavenger hunt, which began Monday. Clues like “Housed inside our community’s treasure,” “Sounds near the river,” and “Local stone from up on high, 100 years now gone by,” sparked a light bulb that led him in the right direction.
“I ran by Howelsen and all those structures over there were log,” Light said. “I get to Fifth Street and Yampa by Howelsen Parkway, and I happened to look to my right. The signage at the rodeo area there said Howelsen Park was made of all these rocks.”
And there it was, the Yule Log, nestled behind the stone entrance sign with the “community’s treasure” — Howelsen Hill — looming a few hundred yards away.
“I had ‘stones’ on the brain and ‘Howelsen Hill’ on the brain, and I thought, ‘What the heck,’ and I got lucky,” he said.
Light and his family always have enjoyed reading the clues in the newspaper each holiday season, but he said he has never actively searched for it in the past. Each year, 10 clues are published weekly, with the final hint published just before Christmas.
He was so unaccustomed to actually participating in the Yule Log hunt that when Light stumbled upon the roughly 3-foot log, he wasn’t sure what to do next.
The Tread of Pioneers Museum sponsors the scavenger hunt, so he wondered if he should haul the log back a few miles to work and turn it in later. Or was he going to leave it and risk having another seeker spoil his finding?
Given the log’s bulk and how far he was from work at that point, Light had a decision to make. It was going to be a little while before he had to pick up his first-grade daughter from school, so he didn’t want to just leave it. But then again, Light said, if someone else happened to come across the Yule Log, he still knew he had found it first.
“I ran back to work (leaving the Yule Log behind) and looked up whether to call them and tell them or get it and take it,” Light said. “I grabbed my lunch, made my lunch in the truck on the way to picking it (the Yule Log) up and dropped it off Wednesday afternoon.”
The clues added up, but Light said being an avid cyclist and runner in town, frequently taking in the outdoor Steamboat sights and sounds, gave him an advantage.
“I run and bike quite a bit around town, and you just get a sense of the lay of the land on where something may or may not be, as opposed to driving around in a car, ” Light said.
The Yule Log is back in the museum’s possession, and Light was given a black-and-white historical framed photo as his prize along with a plaque that reads, “Yule Log Winner 2013.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll
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