When the temperature gauge on my patrol vehicle topped 120, I knew I was in a different world. I have spent quite a bit of time in deserts before, but never in the summer. When I stepped outside of my vehicle, I felt an overwhelming heat that was almost suffocating. I can't believe people live in a place like this! Despite my initial impressions, I ended up spending a very fun couple of weeks getting to know the desert in Yucca Valley (near Joshua Tree NP) in Phase I of Field Training. I figured out early on that there were some great hiking hours in the mornings and evenings. The rest of the day, I would try to spend as much time as possible in air conditioning. Now, it's on to the eastern Sierra Nevada!