We’re walking on, as Mely puts it, the world’s shortest hike. Mely, the Latino Heritage intern at the park, and is just up ahead of me on a drainage in Saguaro’s Tucson Mountain District. Resting across her shoulders is a long (put in how long after phenology), metal pole with a GoPro Camera attached to the end. Lighter silver bands wrap around the pole, which extend the pole’s length when twisted. Mely is documenting the 2019 saguaro cacti phenology, or studying the saguaro life cycle- what time of the year it buds, blooms, and produces fruit throughout the year. Saguaro phenology surveys

-abt to catch the tail end of the blooms

Five minutes later, we stop in front of Saguaro #1 (a.k.a. friend #1). I pull an iPad and a map out of my pack, and Mely lifts the pole, twisting the silver bands- we watch the pole rise up…up..up until it’s extended just above the Saguaro cacti’s crown.

I have an iPad in one hand, a map in the other.

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