A desert oasis is generally a lush, water-rich area in the middle of the desert. It can be something as simple as a small pond filled with water after a rain, to a cavern into which
water constantly flows such as is found at Montezuma’s Well in Arizona. Over the years they have been used by travelers to refresh themselves, as well as by story tellers to provide comic relief or a sinister turn in a tale when a hallucination leads to ruin.
Speaking of Montezuma’s Well, this desert oasis was first brought into the public attention in 1878 in a Handbook to Arizona written by Richard J Hinton. But it may have been discussed in print long before that. In 1583 a Spaniard named Antonio de Espejo wrote of ditch running from a pond to an abandoned pueblo. Many believe this was a description of Montezuma’s Well and the nearby Montezuma’s castle. The well is a sinkhole into a cavern where over a million gallons of water flows each day. At present, nobody has been able to trace the source of the water that flows into this oasis.
Because of their image as a place for travelers to rest, oases have lent their name to many resting or stopping places. One such is the Desert Oasis RV Park and Sand Dune Resort in Idaho. The park is open from May through mid September. It has 72 campsites and miles and miles of sand dunes where people dune ride, snowmobile in the winter and explore the many caves found near the property.
The caves near the Desert Oasis RV Park are quite interesting in themselves. They are tubes formed from cooling lava. They snake underground for miles and miles, going wherever the lava was able to flow. A little known fact is that lava is a great insulator. So these caves are cool even on the hottest summer days. Visitors are reminded to bring jackets.
Other popular recipients of the oasis name are hotels. One such is the Sheraton Desert Oasis in Scottsdale Arizona. It’s located in the Sonoran Desert which provides a beautiful backdrop for the hotel. The area is hardly barren. There are activities such as rodeos and horse shows nearby, as well as art galleries and museums. And of course there’s the desert to explore. But bring plenty of water.
A desert oasis can be a life saver for someone traveling under the hot sun and over the hot sands. It can also be a hotel, park, or rest stop in the modern world.