Ok to clarify since some of the comments made are really really misleading and as a guide out there who has paddled the gauley and new many a time there are a few points you need to really pay attention to:
First do not attempt the lower gauley if you do not have a solid roll. Iím talking from first hand experience from when I started boating and has an eh roll but rockin brace but still swam UNDER an undercut.
If you are not a class IV boater or do not have a solid roll then I recommend paddling the middle gauley first which is from Mason Branch to Bucklick itís a class III pretty easy run then you can continue downstream and paddle the lower. Super easy to bum a shuttle from people at the bottom especially during G-Fest if you decide to run the lower.
The video makes everything look way easier than it actually is. The lower isnít that difficult but it is very pushy and there are many undercuts/sieves and BIG holes that the water pushes towards (one undercut that people did not mention is heaven gates)
The New is definitely easier (still not for a beginner) and close to Gauley but once again there are several undercuts. If you follow someone who knows it that you should be good to go. Paddle Iraq and Xtraheat have somewhat good beta except that table rock in double z is not undercut and has not killed anyone but the right side of that rapid which was not mentioned IS undercut but the line is center right just donít swim to shore until you finish the rapid if you happen to swim. The meat grinder after middle keeney, greyhound bus stopper, and lollygag will not be issues unless there is a miracle and we get ridiculous hurricanes.
And seriously why are you mentioning the upper gauley if you said you were a beginner. Please take this river seriously 4 people died in a month here last year. The most dangerous rapid (lost paddle) is not scoutable and not really portageable.
Someone mentioned scouting the upper g which isnít really doable except maybe pillow and sweets which are not easy to get to.
Sorry for the long post but this river will kick your ass if you arenít ready for it. The gauley is amazingly fun as is the fest but if I were you I would consider running the middle and if all goes well then attempt the lower (IF you have a 75% roll) and then possibly running the new. If you want to see the upper gauley then definitely raft it.