Everything I own has to fit in my car so I’m very deliberate about buying new things, but I’ve been in need of a new hiking hat for some time now. Even in the winter, the sun in New Mexico is brutal and I hate putting sunscreen on my face so a hat is an essential piece of equipment for my all day hikes.
Hats are a big deal here in New Mexico. In any given group of people, about one in ten will be wearing some form of cowboy hat and if you hang out with horse people, everybody has one! Hat diversity is amazing. There are literally hundreds of styles, in all shapes, materials, and colors.
I knew exactly what kind of hat I wanted: an Akubra Snowy River hat! Akubra is the National hat of Australia and Snowy River is the style the hero Jim Craig wore in the Man From Snowy River, my all time favorite horse movie.
New Akubra hats run about $200, way more than any writer can pay for a hat, so I’d been stalking a bargain online for months, with no luck. On Wednesday I stopped in the Kowboyz vintage western wear shop in Santa Fe and asked the saleswoman if they had any Akubra hats. She said she had no idea but directed me to a pile of several hundred hats in my size range. Immediately, I spotted an Akubra! I dug it out, tried it on and have barely taken it off since! This hat feels like it was made for my head and I paid less than a quarter of the price!
Of course, I needed to take it for a test hike so yesterday my friend Becky and I climbed Grand Central Mountain near Cerrillos. I’ve been up this mountain three times now and it’s always a challenge: at just under 8,000 feet it’s not that high, but it’s very steep, very rocky, very cactussy and there’s no trail to the top. We made it up to the high point summit, then traversed the ridge across to the North Summit and descended via a different route for an 8 mile round trip hike. My Akubra didn’t fall off or blow off once! I think this might be love…
Click here to see more photos from Grand Central Mountain!