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Reeves County TX
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THE TOYAHVALE DESERT OASIS

Toyahvale, Texas

By John Troesser
June 2002
TX Toyahvale Desert Oasis
Photo Courtesy Toyahvale Desert Oasis
Darrel and Neta Rhyne run the Toyahvale, Desert Oasis - Outfitters for just about anything you'd like to do in Toyahvale / Balmorhea. They're just a stone's throw south of the park entrance - look for the eye-catching red and white-striped diver's flag painted on the side of the building. Originally from Corpus Christi, Darrel knows SCUBA.

The Rhynes report that during the summer they outfit the summer crowd (swimmers, snorklers and SCUBA divers) and the winter audience consists of mostly divers. They sell and rent all the necessary gear and they can outfit anyone. Certification is offered as well.
San salomon Springs pool in balmorhea State Park
The pool at Toyahvale
Water courtesy of San Solomon Springs
Photo Courtesy of TxDoT
Even non-swimmers can appreciate the beauty of this natural place with both the Davis and Barrilla Mountains serving as a southern backdrop. Toyahvale is where you can camp, swim, SCUBA DIVE, bike, hike, bird watch, or just sit back and enjoy the scenery and the beautiful West Texas sunsets.

The Rhynes had lived in Martin Dies Jr. State Park in East Texas, but Darrel was transferred to Balmorhea as Park Superintendent. They arrived in 1984 with their three children and found that they all thrived in West Texas. They also found (after adjusting to the local flora and fauna) that they didn't want to leave.

Operating the Oasis since 1989, the Rhynes see themselves as local hosts to visitors from all over the world. They have gathered as much history of the area as they've been able to find - dispensing it on request to the curious. They've even had a visitor from the Fiji Islands (who probably wanted to see the novelty of water surrounded by land).

The Oasis lives up to its name and the Rhynes share their home with "Paisano Sue" - the resident roadrunner who nests in the backyard and has raised several broods.
Toyahvale Desert Oasis Indian sign
Photo Courtesy Toyahvale Desert Oasis
Neta is Native-American, belonging to the Cherokee Nation and a direct descendant of Cherokee George.

She has written a book about their West Texas experience and is now working on a second. One story describes earning college tuition money for her daughter by capturing live rattlesnakes (see Neta's Snake Tale) and it also teaches the importance of measuring your snake-catching tools before venturing out.


John Troesser
June 2002
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