Cowboys and horses

Annual Yule Log Hunt

two people holding a log


For the third year in a row, the mother-son duo of Mirko Erspamer and Lynne Romeo found the log today, Dec. 15 at 9:10am, in front of the Depot, behind the Depot Arts Center sign, by the bridge.

They said they looked there because several of the clues referenced the railroad throughout the hunt, and “victim of progress” in clue # 6 led them to research and learn about the loss of passenger/mail service of the railroad, and other modes of transportation. Clue writer, Candice Bannister, Director of the museum, said that although this was not the written intent of clue #6, she did confirm that there were railroad references throughout the hunt, so she can understand how they might have continued along the railroad, and checked around the Depot as a potential hiding spot.

Both the winners and Bannister laugh at the fact that different interpretations of the clues, and not the actual intended answers to the clues, lead the duo to the log each year.

Clue #1 - Wed., Dec. 8

Mirko and Lynne, once again.
Found the log, for the win.
On the trail, and by the creek.
Solve the clues-- we hide, you seek!

Clue #2 - Thursday, Dec. 9 Clue #2

East or West, toward the flow.
Around the bend, on we go.
A rare gem, line of coal.
Stay the path, reach your goal.

Clue #3 - Friday, Dec. 10

M&E to serpent home.
Past the bridge, the seedy roam.
Follow the riddles, find your pleasure.
Don’t give up, there’s hidden treasure.


Monday, Dec. 13, Clue #4
Decker, Bird, and Bobbitt too.
Climbed atop, and they flew.
Follow the sun, and the rhyme.
Don’t stop now, there’s not much time.

Tuesday, Dec. 14, Clue #5

Down below, water flows.
Red and white, a rare sight.
Don’t stay too far, or get off track.
Continue on, toward the stack.

Wed., Dec. 15, Clue #6

Victim of progress, a sad plight.
Before arrival, what a sight!
Stay the course, don’t derail.
Follow the clues, in detail.

*If you find the log, please immediately call the Tread of Pioneers Museum at 879-2214; also please bring the log directly to the Museum to claim your prize. Solve all the clues; the log will be hidden after clue #6. The 2021 hunt starts at the hiding spot from 2020: Fish Creek Bridge on the Yampa River Core Trail.

Dogged determination paid off last year once again for the mother-son duo, Lynne Romeo and Mirko Erspamer, when they became last year’s winners of the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s 41st annual Yule Log Hunt. Their secret to winning two years in a row? Getting up early to get the newspaper, careful research into Steamboat’s history, and creative problem-solving.

“We do quite a bit of research when we look at the clues; we don’t just wander around and look,” Erspamer said. “That’s what makes it fun. You get to learn so much history that you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise.”

This year’s 42nd Annual Yule Log Hunt, presented by the Tread of Pioneers Museum will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Each weekday’s clues will be posted on the museum’s website and Facebook page, air on local radio stations, and will also be printed in the Steamboat Pilot/Today and its website. A new clue will be released each weekday for up to eight days unless the log is found sooner.


Every year, the clues take you on a path towards the log’s hiding place; the clues do not describe the hiding spot itself until the last few clues of the hunt. The log will not be physically in its hiding place until after the release of clue #6, in an effort to prevent hunters from randomly stumbling upon the log.

The 2021 hunt starts at the site of last year’s hiding place: Yampa River Core Trail at Fish Creek Bridge. Clues written each year by museum staff often include information that refer to community history, or place names or events of the past. Unless the log is found sooner, the 8th and final clue will be released by the media on Friday, December 17.

Background: The Yule Log Hunt has been a traditional holiday event in this community for over 42 years! The three-foot long, 25-pound log is hidden within the city limits of Steamboat Springs. It is distinctively marked with the words “Yule Log” (in RED letters) and at least a portion of it will be visible from its hiding place. The log will not be on personal private property, inside of buildings, or in areas that charge fees to enter.

When the log is found: When the log is found, the lucky winner should immediately call the Tread of Pioneers Museum at 970.879.2214. Museum staff will announce the end of the hunt so that others on the hunt do not keep searching. The log must be physically presented to Tread of Pioneers Museum staff before the winner will receive the $150 Steamboat Chamber gift card (generously donated by the Steamboat Chamber). Solve the clues, find the log, and join the winners’ circle of Yule Log fame!