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Everyone here in northern Mexico is bracing for an even colder weekend. Today clouds covered the mountains that surround this valley and we kept our coats on all day.  Well some of us. More on that later.

The clouds rolled around the mountain tops and hovered half way down to rest in banks of gray suspended like hanging cloud gardens.

There is more water in the desert than I have ever seen. This winter is pooling in places that I have never seen it pool.

The amazing thing about this valley is that it’s dominated by microbes and this morning it was my job to collect some.

I had to go into the water. With my snorkel. Without my coat.

I hate, I mean hate cold water.

Luckily this water is lightly heated. The water has perked up through miles of rock to exit in pools and the case of where I will gather the little microbes this morning in a river surrounded by mesquites. It’s not as warm as some of the other pools, its not as warm as I would like, but its warmer than the air around me.

Here they are. Imagine. These are little balls of microbes, churning out oxygen.

These little boogers will be on their way to UWash next week, to undergo torturous regimes of odd and unusual atmospheres.

In some places in this valley, little rivers meander over land, emptying into, well, just emptying into big pan shaped expanses of desert floor. There, as seasons come and seasons go, the sun will evaporate the water as it spreads into the giant shallow desert lagune and once its all gone, something amazing happens. The prevailing southwest wind, clashing over the mountains and barreling down on that big evaporative pond, blows gypsu, pure white gypsum into dunes as surreal as anything you can imagine.

And that was the last stop of the day. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.