Boy Scout leaders promised that the 10-day long National Jamboree was going to be big and wild. Even so, the 40,000 Scouts who came could not have imagined what was ahead.
This year's Jamboree was the first ever at the Boy Scouts new permanent home, the Summit Bechtel Reserve, and organizers made sure that the experience would make an impression.
The scouts camped atop the gorge in Fayette County, spread out in fields across the 10,600-acre camp.
"This just blows my mind," scout Sam Hauda, 15, of McClean, Va., told MetroNews when he arrived last week. "I'm a city boy and used to seeing buildings and maybe the occasional deer, (but) out here, you just get lost in it all."
But it wasn't just the setting. The scouts found the camp loaded with activities to keep body and mind occupied.
They rode over 36 miles of mountain bike trails, glided down almost six miles of zip lines, scaled the largest man-made outdoor climbing facility, rolled through a giant skate park, rafted and kayaked on the New River, hiked and fished.
They threw tomahawks and knives and shot black powder muzzleloaders, took canopy tours on ropes and rode four-wheelers. They hiked and hiked and hiked some more and even then could not reach all corners of the massive camp.
Naturally, since this is summer in West Virginia, the scouts had the elements to deal with.
They tried to stay hydrated when temperatures soared through the 90's, dodged chunks of ice during a hailstorm, struggled to stay dry and clean when heavy thunderstorms turned parts of the camp into mud bogs.