Hunters Head to Lisle to Find Elusive Yule Log

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Arado

John Knoepfle and his family have participated in the annual Hunt for the Yule Log at the Morton Arboretum for more than a decade, but they had never found the prize -- until Sunday.

The Naperville residents found the yule log in 35 minutes, a fitting time considering that Sunday was the 35th year for the event.

"We started doing it because we love the arboretum," said John Knoepfle, standing next to his wife, Cristina, and his daughter, Nikki. "Now, it's really a family tradition for us."

The yule log hunt invites people to search the arboretum for a 6-feet-long piece of wood that's festooned with a red bow. Hunters are given clues that lead them to various checkpoints, at which they have to get their programs punched. To win, an individual or group must be the first to find the log after reaching all the necessary checkpoints in order.

The yule log tradition dates back to the Vikings, who used it as part of their celebration of the winter solstice. Arboretum officials said their version has become a favorite holiday season event for local families. …