We heard all the rave reviews about how great this river was. The book Wildwater West Virginia described the Upper Gauley as "Sixteen miles of swirling, crashing, pounding end." Another good quote that sums up the river is, "It's big, it's long, it's inaccessible, it's tough, it's dangerous, it's intoxication." It's ranked #2 in the nation and #5 in the world by whoever ranks these things (#1 is the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, which I doubt I'll be able to visit any time soon.)
So how was it?
It didn't disappoint.
To try to get a feeling of what it was like, check out this article located on the Great Outdoor Recreation Pages website, entitled, "Good Gauley! West Virginia's Whitewater Mecca."
By far, our best trip ever, this thing was a challenge - especially for me. I fell out of the boat at least three times, and we have it all on videotape. The rapids were awesome, as there was a good mix among Class IV through Class V+ rapids. You can't get any higher than that (Class VI rapids are considered unrunnable and against the law.) We also surfed a hydraulic for at least thirty seconds (well, my raft did - I was pitched out of it at around the twenty second mark.)