Easter hunt on the Yampa River Core Trail: chance to win a prize
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Spring has sprung in the Yampa Valley, a puddle-plentiful time of year when the flowers show off their colors and birds have no end of things to sing about.
This Easter weekend marks an especially warm, sunny day — perfect weather for a particular bunny to hide some holiday treats.
To commemorate this special Sunday, traditionally a time of rest and gratitude, Steamboat Pilot & Today has placed seven plastic Easter eggs at special locations along the Yampa River Core Trail.
This 7.5-mile, multi-use trail runs through the heart of Steamboat, offering views of its namesake river and the wildlife that gather to drink and eat from its waters.
As you walk along this beloved trail, take some time to look around at the spring-special treasures it has to offer. If you happen to come across one of the objects or landmarks pictured below, take a selfie in front of it and look for the nearby egg.
Post your photo on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win a copy of Ski Town Shenanigans, a book filled with local crime antics ranging from bears breaking into Subarus to thieves nabbing a Superman mannequin.
The locations of the eggs are organized west to east along the trail, starting from Stockbridge Park and ending just before Emerald Park. If you discover an egg, please leave it for others to enjoy.
Routt County has a historically complicated history when it comes to sheep. In the late 19th century, local cattle ranchers feared what they called a “sheep invasion,” caused by herds moving south from Wyoming into Colorado, according to an 1895 article in the Cheyenne Leader. To the cattlemen, concerned the sheep would eat up all the vegetation for their cows, this meant war.
The Leader went on to report a force of 800 to 1,000 Coloradoans, composed of stock feeders and cowboys, armed themselves with rifles and drew a line of defense along Hahn’s Peak to prevent such an invasion. Fortunately, the sheepherders did not cross that border, and no lives were lost.
The sheep pictured here pose no threats to the surrounding grasses, which have grown greener by the day. Made of metal, a small line of them bask in the sun near a popular park, bus stop and river take-out. Inside the belly of one of the animals is a hidden egg. The sheep won’t mind if you reach in and pull it out — just make sure to return the egg so other people can find it.
It’s a sign
This railroad crossing sign isn’t keeping anyone off the tracks, anymore. It lies behind a metal crosslink fence, serving more as a curious eye-catch than a traffic enforcer. You can spot the sign in the middle of a rail yard, where a hodgepodge of antiques from the more booming train days rust in the dirt.
Finding the nearby egg may prove a challenge. If you’re looking directly at the fallen sign from the trail, you are very close. Take a peek inside some of the wooden posts that were once a fence.
Retired railroad car
It’s hard to miss this brightly painted railroad car, which sits right next to an old train depot. The depot has since been converted to serve more artistic purposes, and the rail car is now more a museum exhibit than a functional machine.
You will notice the antique just before or after you cross a bridge across the Yampa River, depending on which way you travel. The egg is a bit more out in the open here — the glitter on its surface may even catch the sunlight and make it a dead giveaway.
This stone trumpet player has been holding still for years now, perhaps still waiting for a conductor to give him the go-ahead to blare his instrument. Luckily, he has some company. A small group of musician statues sit in a semi-circle at a park frequented by dog-walkers and slack-liners.
As you can see by the picture, the egg is easy to spot from high up, but shorter people may need a lift nabbing this one. Before you leave, take a minute to sit on or with the stone musicians. They seem to appreciate the company.
Spring in bloom
As of Saturday afternoon, this daffodil patch was the only one in full bloom along this section of the Yampa River Core Trail. The flowers glistened like little light bulbs in the sunshine. They happen to be just across from a building that offers a winter activity, which caters to both elegant dancers and more brutal puck-pursuers.
Again, the egg is an easy find, but don’t leave so soon. Notice the seasonal changes afoot. Some spring flooding has created a small creek flowing between the sidewalk and the adjacent railroad tracks. Evergreen trees lining the path and street are giving off a sharp, piney scent that, for some reason, wafts particularly strongly through this part of the trail. Can you smell it? If not, it may be a sign to break out the allergy medication.
A lover of the Yampa
This statue commemorates two-time Olympian Richie Weiss, who died in a kayaking accident in Washington in 1997 at just 33 years old. It rests near a motel with a quintessential neon sign and depicts a man pulling his paddle through some bronze whitewater. Weiss, who grew up in Steamboat, was obsessed with the Yampa River. Even in the winter, he would take his kayak to practice while others skied. An article from the Seattle Times describes how he would use an axe to break a path through the frozen water. He would go on to compete in the 1992 and 1996 summer Olympics in Barcelona and Atlanta, respectively.
Spotting the nearby egg shouldn’t be a problem, which leaves more time to explore the place. A local’s tip is to dip your feet in the small spring, fed by the runoff from the Old Town Hot Springs.
The seventh and final destination is just off the trail near Emerald Park. A metal tyrannosaurus rex has set up a small business offering free sticks to wet-nosed customers. Dinosaurs obviously aren’t savvy capitalists.
If you go by at the right time of day, usually in the late afternoon or evening, you may hear some frogs croaking in a small pond that formed from the melting snow.
Continuing east, the trail eventually passes the Yampa River Botanic Park, scheduled to open May 1. Some flowers have already sprouted blossoms, but a lot more new colors and life awaits resurrection.
Thank you for participating in this Easter hunt. Among the people who tagged Steamboat Pilot & Today at one or more of these locations, newspaper staff will randomly select three winners to receive a copy of Ski Town Shenanigans. Those winners will be announced Tuesday.
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