Just a ways down highway 1 from Ensenada, the hot springs book mentioned Uruapan Hot Springs. We followed the plywood signs towards “agua caliente” through the fields and arroyos. We found a full parking lot and slid into a shady spot. As we approached, we quickly realized that this was NOT the kind of hot springs experience we had thought. There were tubs, but they were personal bath tubs, for rent clearly designed for taking a bath in. But the most interesting part of this agua caliente location was the use of the wash tubs. Concrete tubs with ridges were systematically filled (and emptied) with hot, soapy water. Clothes were rubbed, sloshed and twisted and then rinsed clean. There were clothes everywhere we stepped and looked. Hanging on lines, hanging from trees, laying on the grass, draped over bushes, stretched out on warm concrete walkways and being carried around by the folks doing the wash. This is a bustling place for cleanliness on many levels, but not a place to have a leisurely, relaxing soak in a hot tub. The highway led us through the mountains to a narrow pass where we encountered a stalled car. Our help was limited to providing them water to cool their engine and pour into their leaky radiator. The parking spot was risky, and there was nothing more we could offer so we zipped out of there! Then I spotted the sign for Coyote Cal’s. The memory of a lengthy email interview process came back. Oh yes, I had nearly taken a job as the manager of Coyote Cal’s Hostel about 12 years ago! I was looking for something out of the country, I had never seen this place but it sounded nice and I needed a place to live. Coyote Cal’s nearly got me- but Costa Rica won that battle. Once we spotted the Coyote Cal’s sign, I knew we had to go see what the second place finisher looked like! So we turned back towards the sea and pulled into Erendira and followed the sign for Coyote Cal’s. It is a beautiful place. The building is fantastic, with great windows to the Pacific and clean facilities for the guests. We were the only guests tonight, and we enjoyed the privacy and the location. Just below the hostel is a rocky beach with a small island populated by noisy seals and marine life. In the night the Noreasterly’s blew in and we were rocked through the darkness by strong winds. Blowing sand prevailed in the morning and we packed up for departure. We were headed for the mountains! Destination: pine trees and altitude! Location: Nacional Parque San Pedro de Martir in the MOUNTAINS. This location was at 8,000 to 10,000 feet elevation, and almost in the center of the Baja peninsula. We found a great camping spot for the night and let the dogs run. Seri and Zeb spent four hours running in the pines- just like they used to do back in Prescott. By the time they returned at 9:45 pm, I was completely a worried basket case, and they were so exhausted they would not even eat. The higher elevation gave us cold mountain air. Cold mountain air in late November, even in Baja, meant that we could test our heating system. The spare propane tank (painted like a minion and mounted in an AT propane tank mount ) was utilized to fire up an antiquated Coleman catalytic heater. The tank sat outside, the line ran in an open window. The heater sat on the table. It was seamless! We were warm all through the night, and barely used any propane in the process. Perfect! The next morning we drove to the highest peak in the park and gained admission to the National Observatory. It was an amazing location, with three different observatory towers and views to BOTH OCEANS! From this peak we could see the Sea of Cortez AND the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful. The trees in the park were varied. We saw aspen, blue spruce, Douglas fir, manzanita, oak and more. These photos were taken at the base of a particularly large and beautiful pine tree. See Seri’s curly tail (remember she is a three-foot tall, 60 lb hound) for perspective on the size of this tree. It was a beautiful and different way to explore Baja. But we are done with the cold Pacific winds and the mountain valleys. It is time to turn Alta towards the Sea of Cortez and find warm water, sandy beaches and tranquillo locations! For Thanksgiving, we shall reach the shores of the Sea of Cortez on the Baja peninsula!