Originally Posted by jmack
I would suggest that you find a run that you can handle without a guide (like most anything on the Arkansas), or shell out for a commercial trip.
As much respect as I've got for Josh, what he says about the Ark needs a little qualification. There are definitely some runs on the Ark (Pine Creek, Numbers, Gorge) that you'll want both some experience and a guide for, more runs in early June (if it ever warms up) that'll have plenty of munch factor during runoff. There are also plenty of sections of the Ark you guys would have a fun time on your own but they will not have the excitement factor and big hits you're looking for. Or you could go ahead and hit the serious whitewater on your own and you may get a little real
adventure. The kind with a good chance of ending in the ER lobby while your buddy gets stitched up, or paying full replacement cost for a heap of shredded hypalon, or both.
Or, recommended, you could shell out for a commercial trip like Josh suggests. Commercial outfitters will be running just about anything you want. If you're considering something as rad as Bailey (are you really aware of what Bailey entails?), an outfitter will be the way to go and can take you down plenty of runs (Pine Creek, Numbers, the Gorge, maybe even Gore) that'll be plenty of adventure.
Have fun & be safe!