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Rip & Go: Snowy Range Loop, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

See snaggly summits and hook trout galore on a high-alpine trek.

KEY GEAR
Leave the vest and waders at home. This lightweight, 23-ounce system is all you need for shore-casting into Medicine Bow National Forest’s trout-filled tarns.

Rod and reel A lack of brush cover and breezy conditions mean you’ll want a longer rod. The 8.5-foot, three-weight Orvis Frequent Flyer 863-7 offers enough response and stiffness to roll cast into the wind, and its seven sections pack into a forearm-size tube ($198; 2.9 oz.; orvis.com). Pair it with the Orvis Battenkill Mid Arbor Fly Reel II for the perfect set up. ($129; 5.5 oz.; orvis.com)

Chest pack Sage’s DXL Typhoon is smaller than a lunchbox, and when it’s time to wet a line, it holds flies, tippet, and flotant at the ready. Magnets sewn into the side of the pouch secure metal tools, and three carry options (chest, shoulder, or waist) ensure comfort. ($80; 14 oz.; sageflyfish.com)

SEE THIS: ELK
More than 15,000 elk roam the southern Wyoming mountains, including the Snowies—where they are easily spotted on treeless, alpine expanses throughout the summer and fall. Your best chance of a sighting is in the morning and evening, when elk graze tundra grasses and wildflowers (midday, they generally hide out among the trees, where they’re harder to see). Their cream-colored rumps often give them away; so do males’ huge antlers, which can grow up to an inch per day during their summer growth spurt.

CAMP CHAT
There’s lots of great paddling and fishing on the North Platte River and the other watersheds draining the Snowy Range, but only the navigable water over private land is considered public: Landowners lay claim to the river bottom as well as its banks, which means that standing in or along the water—to scout a rapid, take a break, or cast a lure—is technically considered trespassing. Discuss: Should the state have the right to restrict public access to river bottoms and banks?

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