Yes, it rains in the desert. In Joshua Tree, it's only 4 inches a year. During our time in Joshua Tree, we got to enjoy one day of torrential-raining-sideways-kind-of-rain with winds gusting up to 40mph. I think all 4 inches fell. Everything flooded. It was seriously crazy. We just ran through it. After all, we're hardcore. I put on my high-desert-fashion $1 rain poncho and ran. This is my best "I'm Taking Shelter Under This Boulder In The Rain Trembling Lower Lip Pout."
The great thing about desert storms, is you get the calm after the storm:The desert is colorful and has texture. When you least expect it, you will come around a corner of the trail and there will be a splash of color in the monochromatic desert world. It's a beautiful thing. My favorite living thing in the desert, was the hot pink Barrel Cactus. They reminded me of Tribbles or Sea Urchins.