The Colorado Plateau is a pretty dry place. A desert to most. Maybe 8″ of precip in many areas. The water, when it comes, moves the meager mineral soils in surprising ways. Gravity, wind and capillary action can make a plain rock wall into a canvas of beauty that would be at home in a fine art gallery.
Desert evokes a thin, hard place. The canyons of red rock country may be hard but they are anything but thin.