By now, if you read my blog, you know that I love hiking and exploring, but I am not someone who is motivated by taking down peaks as much as I am motivated by finding something unique to experience on my hike. So this post is about the hike to Los Pinos and Second Summit but really it is the story of the sexy bikini panda.
- 6 miles round trip with both summits.
- 1000 feet of elevation
- Very little shade
- This hike was with fellow bloggers, check out their sites: SocalHiker, Shoestring Adventurer, CampfireChic, RockGrrl, EastWestHike, OPAdventureTeam and awesome sponsor: Keen
The hike itself starts about 6 miles off Highway 74, at a split in North Main divide Road right. You can drive up North Main Divide Road further if the gate is open and even though it was open we did not drive up it. The road gets pretty sketchy here and you really needs 4 wheel drive, so be warned.
We set out from the turn off and walked uneventfully up the steep fire road full of loose dust and gravel. This road doesn’t add much to the adventure other than an increase of elevation and after about 1.5 miles you reach the real trailhead.
Behind you is the Second Summit and you can choose to hike it now or on the way back. The way back is probably better as it is right off the path but you should do it as there is a summit marker and a great view of Lake Elsinore from up there. Plus, after descending you will be back at the trailhead.
From here the path goes up on a steep and rocky trail until it tops out and you get your first view of Los Pinos. This also shows you the ridgeline you must take to reach it.
There are some ups and downs on this part of the trail and it is a beautiful area with lots of manzanita.
As you approach you will see the small summit with lots of jagged rocks and a couple of trees, which brings us to the more exciting part of the story, our introduction to Sexy Bikini Panda.
If you have hiked a summit then you are probably familiar with the summit register and Los Pinos was no different. Except when you opened this jar hidden between the rocks you were greeted by a Panda with a red bikini made out of rubber bands, affectionately named “Sexy Bikini Panda.”
Everyone in the group was so excited to see the panda and there were many different instructions relating to what should be done with the panda and what hashtag to use when referring to it.
Our group took many photos with the strange creature before placing it back safely in its home for the next person to find, hopefully it continues to give hikers the joy it gave us. It was a unique and fun thing to see on the summit and I will never forget my time with sexy bikini panda.
All in all this is a great hike to a beautiful vista and the company made it all the more enjoyable. Side note, Falcon Campground is awesome for secluded group camping, I couldn’t recommend it more. If you are in the area you need to stop by the candy shop and Lookout Restaurant as well.