Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico, USA.
A look into the roles of staff who facilitate magic at the world's largest youth camp and a working ranch: a low-tech lifestyle with historic interpretations and homesteading, fostering community, climbing, backpacking, and an occasional foray into the modern world.

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Lizzy Standard addresses a call to the Logistics office, the heart of operations at the ranch, where weather, trail conditions and movement of people are monitored closely.

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Lizzy Standard addresses a call to the Logistics office, the heart of operations at the ranch, where weather, trail conditions and movement of people are monitored closely.

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A Scout reaches the top of the climb at Dean Cow climbing camp.

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A Scout reaches the top of the climb at Dean Cow climbing camp.

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On the tip of Lover's Leap, staffer Joshua Galemore blends into the trees across the canyon. Staffers often spend their days off on day hikes or mini-treks around the expansive ranch.

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On the tip of Lover's Leap, staffer Joshua Galemore blends into the trees across the canyon. Staffers often spend their days off on day hikes or mini-treks around the expansive ranch.

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Practicing harmonies and passing the time before the nightly history-based musical performance, Rich Cabins staff members Brandon LaRosa and Lee Scarbrough play guitar and sing in the grass near the Rich family home.

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Practicing harmonies and passing the time before the nightly history-based musical performance, Rich Cabins staff members Brandon LaRosa and Lee Scarbrough play guitar and sing in the grass near the Rich family home.

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Back at base camp, Scouts enjoy benefits of modern living, like towering soft-serve ice cream to celebrate a birthday.

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Back at base camp, Scouts enjoy benefits of modern living, like towering soft-serve ice cream to celebrate a birthday.

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Hands blackened from the forge, Taylor Morgan holds Taos Lightning, a voracious hunter and the local cat of Black Mountain camp. Backcountry camps are allowed to have cats to cut down on rat infestations in staff cabins.


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Hands blackened from the forge, Taylor Morgan holds Taos Lightning, a voracious hunter and the local cat of Black Mountain camp. Backcountry camps are allowed to have cats to cut down on rat infestations in staff cabins.


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Crooked Creek program counselor Kate Herries watches Zach Alvarado of Troop 319 from La Crescenta, California, milk Elizabeth the cow during evening program on July 29, 2015..Photo by Leanora Benkato/PhilNews
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Crooked Creek program counselor Kate Herries coaches Zach Alvarado of Troop 319 from La Crescenta, California, milk Elizabeth the cow during evening program. Scouts who visit the homesteading reenactment camps like Crooked Creek have often never worked with farm animals before.

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Crooked Creek program counselor Kate Herries coaches Zach Alvarado of Troop 319 from La Crescenta, California, milk Elizabeth the cow during evening program. Scouts who visit the homesteading reenactment camps like Crooked Creek have often never worked with farm animals before.

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Every caller to Philmont has heard the voice of Barbara Garcia, the switchboard operator and administration receptionist. Each patch in the arrowhead-shaped case behind her signifies a year she has been on staff at Philmont, and she has more that can not fit.

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Every caller to Philmont has heard the voice of Barbara Garcia, the switchboard operator and administration receptionist. Each patch in the arrowhead-shaped case behind her signifies a year she has been on staff at Philmont, and she has more that can not fit.

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Inside the Black Mountain cabin, Dan Edwards cleans a historic replica Springfield 1861 black powder rifle by lantern light. The Civil War-themed camp uses historically accurate guns, clothing and amenities-- no electricity or plumbing, for example-- providing its five male staffers a unique set of challenges for the summer.

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Inside the Black Mountain cabin, Dan Edwards cleans a historic replica Springfield 1861 black powder rifle by lantern light. The Civil War-themed camp uses historically accurate guns, clothing and amenities-- no electricity or plumbing, for example-- providing its five male staffers a unique set of challenges for the summer.

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Puerto Rican Boy Scouts are welcomed to Black Mountain by staffer Taylor Morgan in character as Morgan Morgan, an eccentric Union Army captain.

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Puerto Rican Boy Scouts are welcomed to Black Mountain by staffer Taylor Morgan in character as Morgan Morgan, an eccentric Union Army captain.

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Cabin Restoration staff member Shawn Carroll hugs the seven-day-old baby goat named Matthew in the Rich Cabins field on the afternoon of August 6, 2015...Photo by Leanora Benkato/PhilNews
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Cabin Restoration staff member Shawn Carroll hugs the seven-day-old baby goat named Matthew in the Rich Cabins field on the afternoon of August 6, 2015.

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Cabin Restoration staff member Shawn Carroll hugs the seven-day-old baby goat named Matthew in the Rich Cabins field on the afternoon of August 6, 2015.

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Climbers scale the rocks at Dean Cow, a backcountry camp which offers a specialized climbing program. The staffers stay on the rocks most of the day, with meal breaks, while Scouts filter up and down before moving on to their crews' next camp stop a few miles down the trail.

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Climbers scale the rocks at Dean Cow, a backcountry camp which offers a specialized climbing program. The staffers stay on the rocks most of the day, with meal breaks, while Scouts filter up and down before moving on to their crews' next camp stop a few miles down the trail.

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A few minutes up the road from base camp, a very different side of the ranch operates with computers, legal forms, cool tile floors and potted plants. In the Accounting Department, Tina Archuleta uses the copier in front of the ranch's historic (still functioning) safe.

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A few minutes up the road from base camp, a very different side of the ranch operates with computers, legal forms, cool tile floors and potted plants. In the Accounting Department, Tina Archuleta uses the copier in front of the ranch's historic (still functioning) safe.

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