Pagosa Springs (Boi's Trip)

The last time I was in the San Juan Mountains I said it was probably one my favorite places I’ve been. This time was no different. My friend Mikail’s grandparents own a cabin just outside of Pagosa Springs in Colorado and he invited me and our other friend, Zach, up to spend the weekend. I didn’t really need any convincing and a few weeks later, 3 of us piled into his Toyota Corolla and would head 5 hours south.

The drive there was one of the better road trips I’ve been on. We climbed out of the front range, stopping in Fairplay and passing small, rural towns that would all have a tent somewhere selling fresh peaches. We climbed over steep mountain passes and cruised through wide-open valleys. The drive sent us past cattle ranches and horse stables, all while blasting music that ranged from the Jonas Brothers to Old Town Road. As we headed further south, the mountains would grow taller, we would drive past 14ers all before finding the Pagosa Springs city limits 284 miles later.


Once we got to the cabin, the biggest thing that struck me was how absolutely silent it was. There wasn’t the hum of cars on a nearby road, no voices from the neighbors, no construction going on down the street. The bird calls were quieter, the only thing we could hear was the rustle of the wind, and then the whir of the generator once we figured out how to get that going. We weren’t that off the grid after all. That first night was just burgers on the grill and s’mores around the campfire while we watched the sun set behind the trees, and the lightning crack in the clouds over the town.

Day one started with me waking up before the other two and making my way to the deck to brew a cup of coffee. I brought my Aeropress with me as well as a bag from Dragonfly Roasters who are based here in Boulder. It was practically a perfect way to start my day. I would sit on the table, looking down into the valley for the next hour and a half, even though it felt much shorter than that. Once Mikail and Zach were awake, we made breakfast burritos and figured out a plan for the rest of the day, only to realize that we didn’t really need one.

We decided that we wanted to head down to the hot springs but as I don’t swim very often, I needed a pair of swim trunks. We made our way to the Walmart in town and found out that for some reason, they only sold men’s extra larges and bigger. Not super helpful for me. What I did discover though is that I fit quite nicely into a boy’s XXL and, for five dollars, that’s one helluva deal. We would spend the next 3-ish hours at the springs, moving between pools that ranged from 90 to 111 degrees, and then into the river which was nowhere near those nice temperatures. Sipping on a lemonade and watching people go by in their inner tubes was a solid way to spend an afternoon. Zach bought a Stetson and we capped off day one by popping into a small Chinese restaurant and found out that there is a limit to how much Moo Shu one person can eat.


Day two was hike day. We woke up right at 6 am, ate a PB&J and were out the door heading to Fourmile Falls. The road in lead us through a ranch it seemed as we bumped over cattle guard after cattle guard and slid around on the loose dirt. This hike proved to me again why this part of Colorado is one of my favorites. The hike started with a pretty steep descent into a valley where there was a long meadow filled with soft, tall green grass, and a family camped out by a stream. We continued across the trail, crossing over a flowing river and jumping over muddy sections. The entire area was a lush green with the sounds of the birds in the trees and the gentle gurgle of water just out of view. With about a mile to go you break into a clearing where you can see the waterfall cascade off of a towering and sheer cliff. The lake that feeds the waterfall is just over this cliff but was also significantly farther and strongly not recommended according to the trail signs.

The three of us pushed through the steep half-mile to the base of the falls where we were greeted with the spray of thousands of gallons of water, and the view of the lush valley we just hiked through. Mikail had been on this hike when he was younger and pointed to a trail across the water that was thin and seemed to disappear into the bush. We followed him up and the trail took us to a scramble until you reach a ledge just behind the waterfall. From here you can look through the curtain of water and into the valley while having the waterfall rain upon you. A rain jacket or a stiff hat is recommended.


Now, no trip would be complete without something going slightly wrong. When we got back from the hike, we made another round of breakfast burritos and were in the middle of washing our dishes when we lost all water pressure throughout the cabin. The generator stopped working. When we popped open the lid it said the battery had died (may have been my fault) and like any good car battery, we had to jump-start it. However, due to some of the construction, we couldn’t get the car close enough to the generator for the cables to reach. So while we tried to figure that out, Mikail showed us the tractor equipped with a big ol’ shovel. After putting in the work in the heat, we managed to move enough dirt and use the tractor’s battery to get the generator going again. For a little bit at any rate. We still felt pretty good about ourselves.

When we hit the road the following morning after a stop at McDonald’s for breakfast. I was feeling pretty good. Getting out of Boulder for the weekend to somewhere quiet was everything that I had needed. It was a way to reset, to clear my head, and enjoy taking life just a little bit slower. I think that sometimes, I get into my head, focus too much on what’s going to happen next rather than what happens now. I need to remember that for how much we do for “the long term”, we never will live in “the long term”. We live now, we live for the next day, the next week. And if getting out of the routine is what I needed to remind me of that, I highly recommend it. •


Shot on Film 3

For this round of film, I was gifted a Kodak FunSaver. Its a small, bright yellow, disposable camera and frankly it was the best. I spent most of this roll at Rapha and on my bike so its got a nice theme to it. While the camera and the film doesn’t have the “pro” look that an SLR loaded with Portra gets, shooting this was so much fun. It was much simpler and reminded me of being a little kid, heading to camp in the fifth grade, armed only with a pair of binoculars and a small, disposable camera. Back then all I had to do was charge the flash, hit the button, wind, and hope for the best. The same is still true today. This is a collection of good times with good people.

Shot on a Kodak FunSaver.


Shooting Portraits

In my experience, photography kinda goes in circles. I started shooting for fun, then for class, then for work, then back to class, back to work, and now back to shooting for fun. So not a very good circle I suppose but its a metaphor, man.

In shooting for fun again I’ve made it a point to try and take photos wherever I am. I’ve been shooting quite a bit while I’m at work at Rapha, and a few days ago I joined my friends Omar Kaheel (@omarkaheel12) and Daniel Strangfeld (@daniel.strangfeld) on a portrait shoot. While we banked on rain, it never came but we did find a beautiful field of flowers off of Flagstaff’s summit and a great day of shooting. These are some of my favorites.


Shot on Film 2

Hello! I’m back again with another roll of film. It took me a lot longer to finish out this one with all of the madness that comes with the end of the semester, but I’m still pretty happy with how this turned out.

There’s a lot of time in this roll. The photos here, to me, tell a story about the last few months of this semester. There are photos of the daily walk to class, celebrations of another successful year, escapes, and a look to the future. Some of these photos hold nostalgia, snapshots of a place I’ll never be again, others are representative of what’s to come, even if I didn’t know it then. The time in this roll told me a lot about myself, I’ve learned about where I can grow and where I’ve strayed. I’m more content with living in the present and letting life happen one day at a time. This roll ended on the same hike the last one did, this time though, we made it to the top.

Shot on 35mm Portra 400 in a Vivitar V335 at 50mm.


Coffee Shop Review - Huckleberry Roasters

As most of my friends know, I spend a lot of time at coffee shops. Because of that, they also ask me “Hey Andrew, what’s your favorite shop?”. Well, I figured a fun way to answer that question is to start a series of reviews where I talk about the shops I visit. I hope this is as fun for you as it is for me.


To kick off this series, I wanted to highlight Huckleberry Roasters. Based out of Denver, they have quickly become my favorite roaster. I first started drinking Huck when I picked up a bag that they roasted in collaboration with Topo Designs. I never really took to coffee much before this point, and this was a great way to get introduced to it.

After using this bag to experiment with coffee, I was looking for something a little bit more interesting. One of my friends highly recommended Costa Rican coffee, and at that same time, Huck just released the seasons batch from the Central American county. I picked up the Santa Maria blend, and from there, I didn’t look back. Even Erin, who said she doesn’t really like coffee said it was her favorite to date.


I wanted to talk about the cafe for a moment. The one I have the most experience with is their location at the Dairy Block since it's so close to Union Station. The Dairy Block itself is a cool place with wide, open floor-plans and a host of trendy locations from the Milk Market, a Warby Parker, a fancy cocktail bar, and of course Huck. The cafe is always a clean, welcome space with friendly baristas who always brew a really good americano. When I first visited the cafe about a week after the block opened, the crowds were nonexistent and the walls were still white. The place has really come far since then.


Alright, back to the coffee. Recently, Huck totally revamped the way they package their coffee. As a design student, this new rebrand got me very excited with its bold use of colors and a nice sans-serif font. (Sprudge wrote an article about the process here.) The design of the bags alone got me to pick up a new blend, this time their seasonal Sister Winter Blend. One thing that I think is great about Huck is that some of their blends are paired with organizations that part of the proceeds goes to. This year, the blend went back to helping boost the coffee infrastructure at the sourcing farm. The other blend I’m a fan of is called the Phantom Limb Blend, which goes to local amputee organizations. I’m a sucker for good coffee and good causes.

When people ask me about my favorite place for coffee in Denver, I pretty much always recommend that they check out Huck. To me, it has a great mix of being welcoming and approachable for people new to coffee like I was, but also a place where you can really get into the weeds if you so desire.

Of course, I’m always looking for places I’ve never been so if you have a recommendation, feel free to let me know and I’ll give it a review.

Shot on Film

I wanted to try something new with this set of photos. For a while I felt like everything I took photos of was so that I could post it on Instagram. That every photo I took needed to be the best photo rather than a photo I wanted to take.

I needed to slow down when shooting and I figured using film would be the best way to do so. The photos below are my favorites that I had taken over the course of March. Its a nice mix of outdoors and coffee shops and considering that’s where I spend a lot of my time, I’m happy to see that these photos are reflecting that part of my life.

Shot on 35mm Portra 400 in a Vivitar V335 at 50mm.


How do I art?

I’ve never been big into resolutions, especially since most of my moments of growth usually happen between March and September, yet, here I am still making “goals” for the next few months of my life. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t get me excited in some way.


In the past few months I lost a lot of the creative drive that kept me going. I stopped going out and taking photos for fun, and only made things if it was for a project or homework. It didn’t feel super great and probably wasn’t the best decision I had. So a big goal for me is to try and make more creative pieces that are for me, and not just about being for a job. So adding to photography, I’m going to try to draw more, to create because I can and without worrying about if its good.

So that’s why we have some new sketches here! As with my photographs, I’m still very inspired by nature, so I’ve been drawing nature too, in a very mediocre way. I’ve been very appreciative of YouTube tutorials and the undo button in Procreate. It makes my mistakes less significant or gone entirely.

Of course, my photos are still going to be a thing, and spending the first day of 2019 running through the snow, chasing the light as the sun set was everything I could have hoped it would be. I never realized how much I would miss shooting photos just me, but it helped me reset my mental health, and allow me to look forward to the rest of 2019 with hope and a whole lot of excitement.


Under the Shadows of the San Juan

Some places exist only in fantasy. A place where dragons soar and elves tread softly. There's always been something about these fantasy lands that always called to me. Maybe it is because that these places seem so unobtainable to us in the "real world", where the closest thing to a dragon is a dragonfly. In all of our minds, we have this idea of a fantasy world and some of us spend entire lifetimes trying to find it. 

While I may not have the budget to go to0 far of places, I do try to find these lands where I can. Over the weekend, my family and I visited Ouray and Telluride, Colorado. These two places couldn't be more different. Ouray is a small, tiny town of a single Main Street and dirt roads, the buildings retain their mining town heritage of wooden planks and hand-drawn lettering. Or at least they look like it. Telluride, however, is a mountain playground, surrounded by massive mountains and a towering ski resort. Parking is hard to come by and there's new construction around every corner. 

There is one thing that they share though, and its the towering peaks around them. The San Juan mountain range is the closest to that fantasy I've dreamed of. This area is filled with old mines and mining towns like Ouray, dozens of bare, rocky peaks over 12,000 feet, mountainsides covered in the light greens of aspen trees and the dark green of the pines. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Rockies that are here in Boulder, but there is something about these peaks that command attention, a shame it's five hours away. These exposed mountain ridges have held me, despite the fact that they've made me feel rather insignificant. I suppose that's they're the best quality. They humble us, they keep us grounded, and they let us know that no matter what we as individuals or as a society accomplish, they have stood for longer, and always will. 

Places like this remind me of why I love living in Colorado. It's a place where I can indulge in coffee from shops like The Phoenix Bean in Telluride but also look down on the town from the tops of a mountain. And because this is a state where dogs live and people visit, everywhere we went, we were able to bring Rocky, our old, salty chihuahua. While he tends to prefer blankets and a bed over rocky (heh) terrain and trees, he began to warm up to it by the end of the trip, happily sniffing the trees. 

This trip will definitely go down as one of my favorites since there is something just so peaceful about this area. So if any of you are looking for a place to spend the weekend to kick up your feet, hike a bit, and eat some really great food, I can't recommend this enough. The dense forests and the highest peaks will have you constantly looking for ways to explore them, and as the old cliche says;

"the mountains are calling, and I must go"

Park & Life

Let's start with talking about "life". Here I am sitting at the tail end of my first year at college (ignoring summer classes), and trying to figure out what to do with myself. In two years, hopefully, I'll be out looking for a real job, living in an apartment and doing my best to be a productive member of society. 

In the last year, I've been pushing myself further in my creativity. I've learned an editing style that's mine, I've tried out making videos, and designing everything from logos to layouts, many of which will never be shared. I've been able to put in two really good semesters in college and found out what and who I want to be in life. I've been going to the gym more and started road biking in a bunch of lycra. It has been a lot of work, a lot of momentum and for the most part, that has been really good for me. There's nothing better than self-progression.

However, I noticed sometimes I'd forget to look after myself. More in a mental way than a physical. Yes, I've been more hydrated than ever but I've also hit some pretty low points. A year in college has told me that despite all the privileges I'm so fortunate to have, life can get tough sometimes. I realized I began to neglect "me time" where I'd lock myself in my dorm room, get annoyed at my roommate for doing nothing at all (I'm so sorry), and feel sorry for myself. I figure this isn't necessarily good for me. So, here is another place to put some work in. Self-improvement is a never-ending journey I suppose. I've been trying to spend more time with my friends, going outside more, and realizing the good parts of living. I gradually returned back to who I wanted to be and treated others better too. All of this is not to say that sometimes I relapse, but sharing it has helped more than I could have imagined. 

Ok, now onto the “park” bit. In trying to stay on my goals of being outside and enjoying life, Rocky Mountain National Park is special to me. The wide range of ecosystems that the park holds is ripe for adventure. It has meadows filled with wildflowers, pine forests, and the high alpine rocks of Longs Peak. Don't expect me to be up there any time soon, though. More importantly, its damn pretty and once you get past the all of the cars on the few roads in the park you're welcomed by the pine-scented air, the quiet crunching of the dirt under your shoes, and the rustle of the wind. It helps me recharge and is a place where I can spend time with the people I care about. I hope these photos do it justice. 

VLOG 1 | Denver, Brunch, Photos

This month instead of doing the usual favorites I've been working on a Vlog! 

Over the past few months, I've been trying to focus on branding my work which started with this website and trying to make sure that my photos have a certain look to them. My look. As part of this I wanted to push myself creatively and venture into video. I think this vlog is a good way to do that. I hope you'll enjoy watching!

March Favorites

March just wrapped up which means spring break just did too and boy was that needed. Here are my favorites for the month before heading back for the last push to the end of the school year. 


Jeremy Loops - Critical as Water

From South Africa, Jeremy Loops' second album invokes feelings that resemble the push and pull of the ocean, where water is more figurative, a symbol of emotion rather than just something physical. That or the album art (shot by my personal inspiration Ben Brown) is just subconciously telling me something. Either way, this album is great if you need something to listen to while you relax or to be the soundtrack to a roadtrip. My favorite two songs off this album are "Freak" and "Vulture" which showcase the duality of "water" and the strenghts of this album. 

Also if you're curious about what I'm listening to you can find my Spotify


Coffee Talk with Ian and Ivy

I gotta shoutout my friend's podcast here, especially cause they were nice enough to have me on Episode 20! If you're looking for the Gen-Z perspective on current events look no further cause Ian and Ivy have you covered. Thank you guys for having me on, it was a blast.


Early March sunsets, late March hikes. Our day up at Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Golden, Colorado will go down as my favorite hike so far. 


February Favorites


Kai Straw - Gun

I found Kai Straw a few months ago and I really loved his album Toothpick. He would release a few singles after that for his newest album Gun and I was so stoked when this came out. A bit of dance music, a bit of R&B, and some storytelling came together to make one helluva album. 



From Gimlet Media, the people behind my other favorite podcast Reply All is a show that is as human as a podcast can get. Hosted by Jonathan Goldstein, Heavyweight shows us what it means to really break down a moment and live through all the emotions that come with it. 

Anthropocene Reviewed

Technically this came out in January but it was the very end of it so it gets a spot on the February list. From writer John Green, this podcast looks at parts of the human-centric world and he then goes and rates them. The first episode talks about Canadian Geese (they received an unfairly low score) and the uniqueness of Dr. Pepper. A short and sweet podcast that definitely will slot in the time it takes to walk across campus. 


The Obama's official portraits are freaking awesome. Just look at em'.


A Look Back - India

    Traveling. It is what everyone wants to do, especially because it is January and that means it is resolution season. Traveling to India this winter break has been a mixed bag for me, not gonna lie. I really enjoyed the thrill of getting out of the country, and out of my comfort zone. This post isn’t a “10 Ways to be a World Traveler” cause, well, I’m not by any means qualified enough to give advice on that. So, instead, I am just going to share some of my takeaways from spending the last two and a half weeks on the other side of the world. 

    Every trip has its ups and downs, the Peaks and the Valleys. For this trip, those can be the same thing. For me, that was the street food, or really just food in general. On one hand, it was really freaking good. My family introduced me to the “real” version of the imported foods we get back in Boulder. Pani Puris from a dude on the corner, these, uh, things that resembled crepes, and my personal favorite; street chai found with the frequency of Starbucks back home. Actually, more than that, they were literally everywhere. The craftsmanship of these “chaiwallahs” would rival the best baristas at your favorite artisan coffee shop. There was also a ton of really good sweet things that pretty much were all some form of milk and sugar. Even the Domino’s had something special, a “pizza burger” which was basically a regular pizza sandwiched between two garlic bread buns. Noice. So all of that sounds like high points, yeah? Well, here’s the deal. Coming from the ‘States, my stomach was definitely a little weaker and didn’t have the constitution necessary to hold its own against everything Kolkata threw at it. Couple that with a dehydration and the side effects of anti-malaria pills and you get yourself anything but a good time. So it was out with the street food and in with toast, rice, and saltines for a couple of days. Good times. 

    As I mentioned earlier, traffic rules are a suggestion - not the law. So that means there are three “real” lanes with about 8 lanes worth of traffic. In-between that traffic is a bicycle, a motorcycle, an “auto” (my personal favorite), a couple guys selling socks and snacks, people crossing the street between all of the vehicles, some stray dogs, an open-air market on either side, and usually some form of construction. So there’s a lot of stuff in the street. It is definitely humbling as a driver when you’re in the passenger seat saying “there’s no way we're gonna fit” or more likely; “oh shit”. The size of the vehicle didn’t really matter as an SUV was driven pretty much the same way a motorcycle was driven and merging was more of an “I’m here now”. 

    While we’re on the topic of transportation I gotta mention the trains. The train system in India is pretty robust, you can get anywhere via rail. Now the metro system inside of Kolkata is a beast. It is continually expanding connecting the farthest reaches of the city which means more people can get around easier, but that’s a lot of people. We went off to visit a friend of my mom’s who lived on the northern end of the city. Since we were on the southern side, that means the closer we got to the center the more packed the tiny car got and soon we were standing shoulder to shoulder, back to back, and I was very thankful that it was both the winter time and there was air conditioning or my shirt probably wouldn’t have been the same color at the end. When we got off the metro we took the “local train” the rest of the way to her house and I really liked that, super picturesque and you could feel the wind rush by. I was told I wouldn’t like it as much during rush hour…     

    Now heading home, I have a greater appreciation for where my heritage comes from, more so than I did the last times I have gone to the country. I also think I have a greater appreciation for the many things I take for granted living here in Colorado. Under this, you’ll find some of my favorite photos from the trip, and if you do wind up going, let me know. But for now, it’s time to get back to college and look forward to the rest of 2018.


36 Hours

After spending around a day and a half in either an airport or a plane, my family and I finally made it to India. So here are some thoughts from the air!

Leg 1 - Denver to Seattle

    Leaving home is always pretty hard but the flight was a treat. DIA is one of my favorite airports by far, maybe that’s just cause it is home base but it just is objectively really nice. Anyway, at 7 am security was a breeze, and after a breakfast sandwich we were boarding and heading for Seattle. Alaska Airlines had free WiFi for texting which was rad, good on you Alaska, good on you. I got to settle in, listen to a podcast, and watch the snow-covered American west go by beneath us. It was gorgeous, the mountains that I was so used to, I-25, Lake Yellowstone, it was a helluva way to bid goodbye to home and I can’t wait to see it again heading home.


Leg 2 - Seattle to Dubai

    After a short layover in Seattle where I chugged a mocha and watched an episode of The Grand Tour (shout out to Prime Student), it was time to settle for a long 14-hour flight. It was really long. That sounds dumb but I mean, that’s what it was. We took off in the middle of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve where I was rather bitter about missing a white Christmas and began a long haul over the Arctic towards Dubai. 
    Unfortunately, I am no Casey Neistat so it was economy class, which to be fair wasn’t all that bad, it was just 14 hours. Did I mention that it was long? The food was pretty good since it was an actual meal, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 kinda sucked, and sleeping was interesting but the hours passed by as we looked over small Eastern European towns waking up on Christmas morning, the roads snaking through the snowy land. At this point, thoroughly missing the festivities, I fell asleep again and woke up over the sand dunes of the Arabian Peninsula. Kicking myself for not having a camera, I gazed down as the sun set on the dunes casting an orange glow that reflected off the wings into the cabin. 
    After the sunset there was just darkness, we were traveling over a place where civilization didn’t reach its hand. As we kept moving forward a glow appeared on the horizon and the plane banked towards it. The desert sea began to be dotted with soft orange lights as roads materialized from the sands. We could see the clouds of a sandstorm envelope parts of the road as nature tried to reassert some dominance, but the darkness faded away to be completely overcome by the lights of Dubai. The urban sprawl was reaching out of the dark to welcome us and we gladly accepted, 14 hours was enough. 


Leg 3 - Dubai to Kolkata

    The Dubai International Airport is huge. Massive ceilings, huge glass bugles looking over the desert, and all served by three airlines. The hub for Emirates is the 3rd busiest passenger airport in the world, and its no wonder. When Emirates claim they are connecting the world through Dubai, they aren’t kidding. The main concourse between A and B gates is like a massive mall of luxury brands, fine alcohol, and refrigerators of caviar. Dubai has wealth, there is no denying that, but what was more interesting were the people from all across the world. From the local Emirati to travelers speaking languages from all corners of the globe, everyone it seems was centered right here. 
    A 7-hour layover later, we boarded our final flight heading towards Kolkata. It was a 2 am flight which was a little weird, but at this point after hopping through so many different time zones, sleep was an afterthought. This flight was one of eager anticipation as I could finally get out of a plane or an airport, and that sounded pretty damn good. As we flew over India we broke into daylight and was able to look down towards the ground, or at least the haze. Pollution is more of a problem here than it is in Colorado or anywhere in the States, but that’s what happens when the population of the country is as big as it is. But descending into the haze was a relief as it meant we had finally arrived. 
    After baggage claim, we made our way out of the airport and into the city. We were greeted by my Aunt and Uncle and the driver that would get us back to their house. Getting there was a rollercoaster ride and so much different from the mundane drive it is at home. It was a sensory overload of the sounds and smells of a city with 4.6 million people. Traffic rules seemed to be more of a suggestion than law as a two-lane street became a six-lane where cars would be a few inches away from each other and bikers would wedge themselves in where they could find space. But when the traffic light goes green, the driver would thread his way through the city, shifting his SUV as if he was driving a Formula 1 car and fitting it through places I’d hesitate to ride my bike. 
    When we pulled into the driveway I feel like the high-speed ride had already acclimated me to the city. It’s been four years since I’ve been to the country and after this, I have no idea when I’ll be back. We unloaded all of our bags, carried them up the stairs, greeted the family, and then I went to bed at noon. Jet-lag amirite. 



We've finally launched. It's kind of crazy to me that now I have my own website where I can showcase some of my best work and use this blog to take you guys behind the scenes with me as I try to figure out what I'm doing in the world. 

First, some news! In about two weeks I'll be heading out to Kolkata, India for my cousin's wedding which should be pretty awesome. I'll be keeping this blog updated throughout the trip from airports to the city streets. It'll be a helluva way to kick off this blog, huh?

But for now, that's where I will leave y'all and with anticipation of more to come. 

Here's a photo of Union Station for the time being...