Yule Log Hunt in Steamboat Springs

Written by on December 12, 2010 in CO Events - Comments Off on Yule Log Hunt in Steamboat Springs

The residents of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, have a unique way of celebrating the holidays. Hosted by the Tread of the Pioneers Museum, each year local residents participate in a scavenger hunt to find a 3-foot-long, 50-pound hunk of wood. It’s called the Yule Log Hunt and is very popular with local residents.

A Yule Log is normally a large wooden log which is burned in the hearth as a part of traditional Yule or Christmas celebrations in several European cultures. It can be a part of the Winter Solstice festival or the Twelve Days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Twelfth Night. The Yule Log was thought to bring prosperity and good luck to the family who lived in the home.

Around the middle of December, the Tread of Pioneers Museum Staff, in conjunction with the local newspaper (the Steamboat Springs Pilot) and local radio stations, begin publishing and broadcasting one poem each weekday leading up to Christmas. “The poems are clues which start from the hiding place the previous year,” says Candice Bannister, director of the history museum. “The townsfolk get 10 poems or clues in total, which get a little easier each day. When someone finds the Yule Log, they grab it and bring it back to the museum, where they will receive $150 and a framed piece of historical artwork with a “Yule Log Winner” plaque.”

Of course, the log can only be hidden in public areas, but that still leaves plenty of ground to cover for the local hunters. And the trick is, you have to really know the history of the area to solve the clues. It’s really a history lesson … every time people participate, they find something out something they didn’t know about Steamboat. One year, the clue told hunters to look in the place where a duck was frozen in a pond. You have to have been around a while and know the local history to know that refers to Casey’s Pond. And the clue that said ” find your way on bike or foot” led the winner of the 2008 hunt to the boardwalk in Rotary Park, where the log was hidden 50 feet below the boardwalk.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum has been sponsoring this event for over 30 years, and locals get really involved in the search. It has become a major part of many family holiday traditions.

If you’d like to follow the hunt, you can log into the local newspapers website at www.steamboatpilot.com and follow the daily clues and learn who wins the event each year.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum
The local charmer is located in a 1908 Queen Anne-style Victorian home with turn-of-the-century furnishings. On display are various ranching, mining and pioneer life artifacts from Routt County, a comprehensive History of Skiing exhibit, as well as a Native American arts display. The Western room, home of an extensive firearms collection, traces our agricultural history and the story of an infamous outlaw, Harry Tracy. Special museum features are a computer interactive exhibit, Kids Scavenger Hunt, oral history library, local history research library, unique museum gift shop, and a historic photograph collection.

Admission to the museum is $5 for adults; $4 for seniors over 62; $1 children for children ages 6 – 12; children under 6 years are free.

Tread of the Pioneers Museum Contact Information:
P.O. Box 772372
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Phone: 970-879-2214

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