“Peek A Boo” by Lucas Koch

Ranger Chris Nelson always hikes with his camera at his side, ready to go. As he walks, he takes pictures of everything Philmont has to offer: sunsets, nature, friends, opportunities and memories.

“I’m trying to really capture Philmont,” he said.

With more than 214 square miles for Scouts and staff to explore, Philmont is a difficult place to capture. Thousands of moments happen daily. Scouts summit mountains they thought were impossible. Minibears steal advisors’ last cookie. The sun rises and sets with spectacular colors. Friendships form. Flowers bloom. People grow.

Hundreds of these moments are captured on film and submitted to the annual photo contest by staff members like Nelson who hike with their cameras out and eyes open. This year about 300 photos were entered.

Read more of NPS Staffer Katie Landeck’s words in the 2013 Photo and Writing Contest High Country Special Edition.