There are many areas in the western United States to be considered a desert. A desert can generally be defined as a region with a sparse amount of water, with an annual rainfall of fewer than 9.75 inches. The high desert reference is generally considered inland areas with high-elevation of at least 2000 feet or more above sea level. There are high desert places in California, Oregon, and the Four Corners/Colorado Plateau region in North America. Dry heat is a reference common to these areas, it is associated with relatively low humidity while in the heat. It is more comfortable for the body to deal with lower humidity because perspiration evaporates in dry heat, which makes the body cool. Perspiration does not evaporate in high humidity and causes the body to feel hotter while your clothes stay wet.
There are many different life forms in the various ranges of elevation. Wildflowers, cacti, juniper and joshua trees, many reptiles, birds, bugs, and of course so much more. They are all adapted to the dryness and survive quite well. The contrast of colors can be quite amazing.