J.A.Z. up in the hizzouse!

You know how everybody these days talks about taking the time to stop and smell the flowers? Well, maybe not everybody. It’s difficult to imagine Mike Tyson or Don Rumsfeld advocating flower sniffing as an integral component of a fuller, more enriching lifestyle. But if it’s been a while since YOU actually broke away from your daily salt mine and walked in the sagebrush looking for wildflowers, and even perhaps stooped down to actually SMELL a few, here’s an urgent bulletin coming directly at yo’ haid from the hills of northern Nevada: Flower power is on, sucka, and in full stride as you read this.

Those two rainstorms in April obviously worked their germinational magic upon our sagebrush forests, because many hillsides are currently going the floral equivalent of ballistic with their displays, the likes of which haven’t been seen in these parts for quite a spell. I’ve been tromping about in the treeless foothills east of Spanish Springs recently, my suspicions of possible posy-oriented pulchritude piqued by some unexpected patches of paintbrush, and I can confirm that it is indeed show-time right now, and will probably remain show-time for at least the next couple of weeks. And it’s not just the hills east of Spanish Springs that have gone ape-wire with tasteful splashes of yellow, white, pink, red, purple and blue. It’s happening on Peavine, in the Carsons and throughout the Comstock (and thanks to Joan in the Comstock Chronicle for her heads-up on the V.C. floral scene).

So what are you waiting for? These Elysian hillsides are waiting, fully decked out in their living boutonnieres and primed for picnickers. It’s one of those simple, old-school Great Basin pleasures, when you can just head up a dirt road until you hit a flower zone, stop, get out and start walking around, confident that sooner or later, you’ll stumble onto a serene and sublime scene where everything seems to fall into place, as if it’s all part of some grand rock garden.

Come to think of it … it is.

Another visual payoff occurs when you’re walking through a fairly uninspiring section of acreage, not much going on flower-wise, and then you walk up a rise, get to the top and WHOA! Your eyeballs get nailed with a very pleasing rinse of yellow and red and purple splashed about in that classic northern Nevada foundation of sagebrush gray-green. As basketball freak Dick Vitale might say if he were out there with you pounding flowers, “It’s Sound of Music city, baby! We’re floatin’ in the Julie Andrews Zone!”

How do you find these rapturous places? Fortunately, it’s very simple in this state, where so much of the action-packed open space is not fenced off. (1) Get on a paved road heading up into some hills. (2) Turn off onto a dirt road heading up into some hills. (3) Drive until you see a bunch of colors in the sagebrush. (4) Walk until you enter the J.A.Z.