Finding an Oasis…


Desert plants and WATER…  What a wonderful surprise!

Hi Friends!

Our visit to the American Southwest filled our hearts with wonderful family memories, breathtaking views, and long, quiet hikes in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Walking through the harsh, dry, prickly desert terrain under the blazing sun often calls for a brief retreat… an ‘oasis’ in the desert.

Oasis  [o-a-sis]     

1.  a fertile spot in the desert where water is found

2.  something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual

3.  a place of calm, happiness, or peace

Fortunately, having visited this beautiful part of America many times, we know just where to find our oasis! Those who live nearby have also made this wonderful discovery. We see them trailering boats and  jet skis, walking with fishing gear, and even carrying huge inner tubes. There is nothing more refreshing than finding an oasis in the desert!


Saguaro Lake is a sparkling jewel in the Tonto National Forest! It is a man-made reservoir, built in the Salt River. This beautiful lake was formed when the Stewart Mountain Dam was built in 1930.  Named for the Saguaro Cacti growing nearby, Saguaro Lake has 22 miles of shoreline, a busy marina, and beautiful picnic areas.

We often enjoy a picnic breakfast or lunch along the shores of Saguaro Lake on a day of hiking in the Tonto National Forest.


Saguaro Lake was built in the midst of the wild, untamed desert of the Tonto National Forest.

Hiking along the trails surrounding Saguaro Lake is always a delight!  It’s a rare treat to find Saguaro cacti, desert wildflowers, Palos Verde trees, and Mesquite trees growing near water. Water birds, desert creatures, boaters, hikers, and fishermen all enjoy a visit to this unique oasis.


The Butcher Jones Trail, in the Tonto National Forest, is a spectacular place to hike.

Hiking along the Butcher Jones Trail, on the shores of Saguaro Lake, is a lovely retreat from the harsh desert. At an elevation of 1, 500 feet, the trail begins with a slow incline and with time, becomes steeper and very rocky. We enjoy hiking the easier parts of the trail, stopping often to admire the view.


The Salt River provides drinking water and water for irrigation for the metropolitan Phoenix area. Throughout much of the year, parts of the lower Salt River bed are dry and used as roads.

The Salt River winds through the Tonto National Forest creating a quiet, serene oasis for desert wildlife and visitors to the area. The lower Salt River forms a natural boundary between the Tonto National Forest and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. During long periods without rain, the river flows slowly, meandering through the desert. However, from April through October each year, a nearby dam is opened releasing rushing water into the Salt River for tubing. This popular activity draws large crowds for a wet, wild, desert adventure!


The Sonoran Desert is home to spectacular sunsets, with silhouettes of the Saguaros and the mountains. What a perfect ending for a wonderful vacation!


Now we are back home again in the Midwest, enjoying a busy holiday season. The weeks between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are always filled with so many fun holiday preparations. During these busy days, it’s so nice to find a little ‘oasis’ of quiet and calm.


The conservatory is a true ‘oasis’ all year long. My favorite time to visit is during the winter months.

I just love to visit the Conservatory in a nearby park. Just a few peaceful moments enjoying the flowers and lush greenery fills me with the same happy feelings that I find in my cottage perennial and herb gardens all summer long.


In the Conservatory, red and white Poinsettias, bright red Cyclamen, and Norfolk Pines offer such a cheery contrast to the drab, late Autumn landscape outside.

Visiting this little ‘oasis’ always fills my soul with happiness in a most glorious, peaceful way! It’s so important to find or create a little ‘oasis’ of our own during these busy days ~ a pretty place for a brisk walk, a candlelit place with my favorite music, a quiet place to journal about the ‘small moments’ of each day, reading in a rocking chair near the Christmas tree, or creative time in my paper crafting studio always fills my heart with calmness.

Just a few minutes in an ‘oasis’ really makes a difference during this busy, most wonderful time of year. I’m going to try extra hard to spend a little time in an ‘oasis’ every day! Hoping you will find your own ‘oases’ this season, sweet friends!


Warmest wishes & Christmas cheer!


P.S.  What place or activity feels like an ‘oasis’ in your day?  Hope you will share…


10 thoughts on “Finding an Oasis…

  1. Lovely post.
    These hectic, holiday days, my oasis is a cup of tea mid-afternoon with my many Christmas and seasonal books, but, oh-how-I-love a conservatory. Your photos remind me of one of my favorite ones and is a little nudge to make sure to stop in one day soon.

    • Hi, Penny! Afternoon tea with a favorite Christmas book is my kind of oasis, too! I love rereading my favorites year after year… such a wonderful way to celebrate the season. Perhaps our paths will cross at the Conservatory one day! Warm wishes! ♡

  2. FABULOUS! Dawn dearest, I have come to love lakes since living in Minnesota, land of 10,000+ lakes! I am an ocean girl, having grown up in California. But any body of water is an oasis for me. LOVE! Anita

    • Bonjour, Anita! I didn’t know that you were a California girl! I love the beautiful lakes in the Minneapolis area, too. The summer that my husband and I met, we would seek out beautiful bodies of water for taking walks, talking, and dreaming ~ lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, even a marsh! We must still visit a bog together! Such lovely oases, one and all. Wishing you all the magic of the holidays, dear Anita! Joyeux Noel! ♡

    • Hi, Judy! So glad you stopped to visit! Water truly soothes the soul. I love sunrise over a lake! Is there any better way to celebrate the dawn of a brand new day? We are so blessed to have a Conservatory nearby. It has become a perfect winter oasis! Enjoy sweet holiday memories! ♡

  3. My oasis is actually a favorite restaurant overlooking a marina and bay. It is a rustic, friendly place but the booths give a sense of privacy. I sit right smack-dab next to the windows watching the wildlife, the weather, and marina, sip a glass of wine, maybe journal a bit.

    • Hi, Barbara! What a lovely oasis, the whole year long! Just hearing about it is calming. We have to make time to visit our oases, especially when life gets very busy. That’s when we need them the most! Do you ever have snow for Christmas on the island? Wishing you lovely holidays! ♡

  4. Dawn,
    Your post has provided an oasis of sorts for me. It’s been a very busy, but fun, weekend. The oasis in the desert is truly magical, surrounded by desert and cacti. The poinsettia and cyclamen tree in the conservatory are lovely as well.
    Thank you for this little spot of relaxing images and words.

    • Oh, Karen! What a sweet thing to say! I loved discovering the desert oasis and have been drawn to visit it again and again. It’s such fun to create a little calm, peaceful time and place at home. We all need an oasis in our day! So happy that you found a relaxing spot here, Karen. Warm Christmas wishes! ♡

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