There are several things that I didn't even realize that I've been missing on this trip; mountains, fresh water and quiet. As you traverse Baja, the mountains are ever present in the background and you even cross them a few times on the highway. But so far we've hopped from beach to beach all the way down the peninsula without stopping to really check them out. Having reached the southern end at Los Cabos it was time to head back north, and we were in search of something different. Some Baja regulars we met on the east cape clued us in to some hot springs near a village called Aguas Calientes. It sounded like a nice change of pace so we headed that way.
After a long drive down a dusty dirt road, we arrived to find an almost deserted campground nestled in a mountain valley with a stream running near by. After months with the constant susurration of the ocean in the background it was almost jarring until we realized that it was missing. It was also strange to realize that we hadn't really seen any streams or rivers since we arrived in Baja. While I can't compare this place to anything that I'm used too at home (the cacti wouldn't allow it), it was the closest thing I've found so far to the mountains and streams that I love so much in Appalachia.
We rock hopped up the valley about a half mile or so until we found a good swimming hole. Being upstream of the hot springs the water was ice cold but felt great on a hot day. On our way back to camp we stopped at the hot springs. There were two options. A couple of springs flow right into the stream where people have built a small rock enclosure to let the cold mountain water mix with the hot spring water. There are also a couple of small concrete tubs for soaking in fed directly from some springs on a bluff just above the stream.
We spent our evenings stargazing next to a fire. Frogs quietly chirping by the stream at dusk were the only sound breaking the silence.