simple pleasures everyday love


Work with Me





in Here


The tallest sand dunes in North America glow beneath the 14,000 ft+ Sangre de Christo Mountains.

(In case you’re wondering, those little black specks near the top are people.)

When Nature Pulls a Fast One

(Colorado Series)

There are sand dunes, and then there are SAND DUNES.



Once upon a time, almost any hill would do. But the criteria have changed.



Imagine the scene: You’re driving along in SE Colorado taking in the majesty of the Sangre de Christo Mountains when all of a sudden massive sand dunes rise up 750 feet high out in the middle of nowhere. (Twice as tall as the 32-floor high-rise I live in.)



What?! Sand in Colorado? I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Centennial State, images of sand dunes are not the first things that come to mind.



Beautiful, divine irony.



The scene is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Sorry to shout, but that’s just how it hits you.

We oohed and aahed at the bold eyeful of sand & dazzling wide swath of dunes. A glory, glory hallelujah moment when one could not help but feel a stirring of wonder & of God.



And even though I saw it with my own eyes, it still seems surreal to me.



If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to travel in the Sahara, you can find out in the 39-square miles of dunes at Sand Dune National Park in Mosca, CO.



At the widest point, the main dune field runs six miles & at the longest length, eight miles. The elevation within the park ranges from a low of 7,520 feet to a high of 13,604 feet above sea level.



Once you make it up & into the dune field (a Herculean effort in itself) where only sky & sand is visible from any direction, you get the idea that you’ve left somewhere & entered nowhere.



With sand that reaches up to 150 degrees F in late summer (we went in the spring) & whips its way into every nook & cranny of your body (we Q–tipped it out of our ears for days), Star Dune proved to be one of my husband’s & my most calf-busting, challenging climbs to date. And to prove it, I just wrote the longest run-on sentence in the history of this blog.


Believe me; it’s more difficult than it appears.

© simple pleasures everyday love

At 750 feet, Star Dune is the tallest in North America with an average round trip hiking time of 4 hours. (It took us longer. We broke no speed—or any other—records.)


Bearing a resemblance to desperados stumbling into quicksand in the Sinai Desert, we ran out of water on our assent & had to beg strangers for mercy in order to make it to the summit.


Waaaat-er. Waaat-er. Water, rapid descent or death— the stakes were enormous. One might be tempted to assume I am exaggerating. Only slightly.


After one look at the smoldering sheen of perspiration on our brows, our fellow sojourners begrudgingly obliged.

© simple pleasures everyday love



Live Life Well


Hello  & Welcome!

I'm Cindy & so delighted

to make your online acquaintance.

Simple Pleasures Everyday Love (SPEL) is a unique community of smart, funny, deep-thinking people proactive about increasing the depth & fulfillment we get from life.


It's a renewable source of things we all just seem to love: life's little joys, charmed moments, and everyday epiphanies that strike a chord.


SPEL's also a happiness-enhancing strategy, a continual reminder to notice & relish ordinary, everyday experiences. (And luscious details matter.)


Join over 2,000 Super SPELers on the journey.



 This is your life.

 Savor it.

 If not now, then when?

 If not you,  then who?

Go on & click it.

Guaranteed to

trip your joy circuits.

Popular Posts

The Nuptial Journey

(Reflections on 30 years of marriage)

When Nature Pulls a Fast One

The Kindness of a Stranger

Animal Magnetism

A Mulligan (Life's Second Chances)

How to be Happy:

22 Tips for Everyday Bliss

Making Uncertainty an Ally

Lovin' the Town You're With


Being Part of Someone's First

The Beauty of Imperfection

My Book



 "An Amazing Life Story..."

Arnold Palmer

My Biz

Words that Live On

Cindy O'Krepki, Professional Writer

Social Media Curation & Mgmt

Content Consultation & Creation

Writing & Creativity Coaching

Copywriting  |  Ghostwriting

 Biz 2



Get found. Convert. Optimize.


Web Development


Video Production


Internet Marketing

Laugh Lines are Sexy

The Dalai Palma

digital media

If you visit in late May, as we did, a roaring creek “appears” (yes, like a mirage) along the edge of the dunes with surges (highest at dawn) strong enough to ride.


After our trek up & down the dunes, splashing in the Medano Creek was one of the highlights of our trip.

© simple pleasures everyday love

© simple pleasures everyday love

© simple pleasures everyday love

A lone sand-boarder

(Note: The variations in sand color are due to camera settings & time of day.)

© simple pleasures everyday love

© simple pleasures everyday love

© simple pleasures everyday love

On a side note, if after hiking the dunes you find yourself in full electrolyte-recovery mode like we did, stop by Pueblo’s Bingo Burger.


Just a few blocks off of I-25, you can build-your-own burgers with Colorado-raised beef, lamb, & chicken on house-made challah, multigrain, & sweet potato buns. The legendary burgers live up to the lore.


Actionable advice: Order the lamb burger with goat cheese & mushrooms & lemon-rosemary aioli.  And go all-out with their assortment of dipping sauces with your fries:


Bacon mayo

Chipotle ranch

Cranberry BBQ

Curry ketchup

Roasted garlic bleu cheese

Thai chili ketchup


It was the dipping sauces that first sold me on the place.


Since it was likely that the responsibility to sweep up the significant pile-up of sand left behind in our booth would fall upon our poor food runner, we felt compelled to tip him even if this was the kind of joint that didn’t call for it.


If you want to spend the night, there are campgrounds available directly in the national park. Or yurts & tepees close-by replete with hot springs for soaking your sore, sandblasted muscles.

And for those who of you who get a nervous tic just thinking about lodging without permanent walls or indoor plumbing, not to worry, there are hotels aplenty in Pueblo.


Note: I have no affiliation with any of the aforementioned. Just want you to be well fed & have a place to rest your weary bones.  Iffin’ ya wanna.


Final parting words:


This is a landscape too vast for any viewfinder & to which this screen does absolutely no justice. You really must “Go West, young (wo)man” & have a look-see for yourself.


The world, it’s a beautiful place.


Previous Post: The Kindness of Strangers

It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) |  How to Be Happy:  22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki  Published by Words That Live On, LLC © 2012-2014 All Rights Reserved.

All trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

This site is not intended to provide, and does not constitute, medical, health, legal, investment, financial or other professional advice.

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs on this website are original & copyrighted or embedded with a link to their source.

For permission to use original photography, contact

© 2012 - 2014 Words That Live On, LLC   All Rights Reserved.

Design & Developed by CLKWELLMedia, LLC