So i am not a class V'er, but i got a little beta for you if you're interested.hopefully this is informative and not redundant or demeaning...
I Second on the taylor if it's flowing...thats your home 'creek' ..... low volume III with IV up top. if the Taylor is home, then the Arkansas river could be your second home. (i SO want to move up there, but it aint happening for about 14 years...til i retarr...lol) you have a great opportunity to hone your skills here.
2. Also x2 on what Glenn said. Catch every micro eddy and find hard lines through familiar rapids. dont worry about 'creeking' just yet.
the Ark at is a great place to learn test and push your skills. depending on which section youre comfortable, and certainly depending on flows, that will tell you where else to look, or... what to avoid. (the ark is certainly not the hardest, but its got the 'Colorado standard' class III & IV runs per the guidebooks, and is more then capable of serving up some humble pie...just ask me how i know...
3. dont skip the essential gear, its essential for a reason.
maybe look up 'creeking kit/ gear' for the other pieces you will need sooner or later.
a couple more things:
4: Take a swiftwater class asap, and try and find a small crew that you have a good rapport with... you need to have a good team for challenging runs. You take swiftwater rescue for your own safety, but also for the group, so they should be prepared similarly. you have to practice skills more then once a year too
5: Check out the Creeking clinic at Paddlefest this weekend. That will be an invaluable opportunity with some Pyranha team dudes, that is precisely what youre looking for. you need the foundation of the skills first, the rivers are all around you. you will meet tons of cool folks at paddlefest, and definitely (maybe) go home with more friends... i've alway tried to learn everything on the cheap,that is, from friends.... but sometimes paying for professional lessons are invaluable. you can spend a long time correcting bad habits you've acquired from paddling buddies.
CKS PaddleFest | May 24-26 2013 - Kicking off the paddling season!
ON WATER EDUCATIONAL COURSES - CKS PaddleFest | May 24-26 2013
I try to go every year. I would like to do the playboating clinic this year if possible, but i certainly would do the creeking clinic too. one can always learn... in years past i never went to any clinics, cause i was too busy trying to get laps in...!
Taylor is almost up to minimum per AW, but i bet it goes... check with a Taylor Local like Yetigonewild.
I sure wouldnt mind hitting the Taylor again, maybe on the way up to check the Upper East...