Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the September 21, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

A special thing about the valley occupied by Higueras is the river which, even though most of the time it's hardly more than an ankle-deep trickle, provides water in an arid land. Moreover, here and there seeps and springs issue from the valley's slopes.

In one place a roadcut severed an underground stream causing a large, moist, dark-stained spot to form. There was no running water, just moistness, as seenbelow:


Down lower another subterranean stream emerged from where the river had cut into the slope, but this time water emerged more vigorously, hundreds of little trickles uniting into a flow about equivalent to a faucet turned on full force. From a nearby stand of bamboo someone had whittled a little trough enabling passersbys to easier drink from the seepage, as shown below:


Often, especially in limestone territory, I ignore such water sources because one never knows where the water has just come from. Water can travel quickly for long distances in underground caves, for instance, without ever being filtered at all. Maybe what gushes from a spring just a few minutes ago leaked from a cattle pond. When emerging water is warm and there's no geothermal activity in the area it's certainly been surface water recently.

However, at this seepage I could see that all the water emerged very slowly from clay, and it was cold. It was as healthy as water could be. It tasted good, with a slightly clayey flavor, so I filled my bottle with it, glad for my body to assimilate minerals from such a pretty little valley.