About the Book
Join me on a Scavenger Hunt!
A scavenger hunt lures you with the excitement of each small discovery and the satisfaction of reaching an ultimate goal. Along the way are hidden treasures, but to find them you have to be observant, resourceful, and persistent. At times you rely on your friends, and a little luck never hurts. You search for objects that others see, but don’t notice.
Some excellent scavenger hunts can be simple to organize, lasting a couple of hours and taking place in a backyard. The hunt recounted in this book lasted more than 20 years and spanned the breadth of the United States, but the basic idea is the same. Once you’re hot on the trail, you don’t want to rest until you uncover the next clue.
The subject of my scavenger hunt is a specific kind of fiberglass statue that I first encountered in 1984, when I was ten years old and my family moved to Flagstaff, Arizona. Naturally, back then I was unaware that the Lumberjack statue in front of the Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University would lead me on such a long, exciting adventure, but we certainly made an instant connection.
Over the years I encountered more of these giants, standing guard at roadside businesses, from gas stations and golf courses to restaurants and auto repair shops. They were all twenty feet tall with legs slightly apart, muscled arms bent forward and readily recognizable by the position of their hands: right palm up, left palm down. I had always thought of them as Lumberjacks, but some of the variants didn’t look like axe-wielding woodsmen at all. Intrigued, I asked myself, who made them, and when? How many were manufactured, and for what purpose? Eventually, my attempt to unravel the mysteries surrounding the statues led to a cross-country quest. I also scoured books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and even TV shows, but resisted the temptation of finding easy answers on the Internet.
As I traveled across the United States, I received help from friends and family, as well as from many strangers—some who had one of these larger-than-life figures standing outside their businesses and others who merely contributed recollections of varying accuracy. Even though most people didn’t remember the exact details of their sightings, they provided me with valuable leads. Best of all, their interest in the statues encouraged me to persevere until I had deciphered the clues and found the answers to all my questions.