Ridge soaring with a Paraglider on Gas Works Park

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There’s not a lot of upward winds on the tiny mound that is Gas Works Park. But it’s windy enough that this guy might be on the something. He is able to inflate the glider, get stable, but every time he tries to lift off it finally drops back down.

Reminds me of the time I used to paraglide back in India and it’s a very meditative experience as you sit and patiently wait for the wind to pick up or sometimes just go home if conditions aren’t right. But you typically do this on a high enough ridge. I trained on a 300ft hill and “graduated” to 1000ft ones. That’s hardly nothing for a pro, but I am still at a beginner level.

We are all rooting for him here. May the force be with you.

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The autosock, an easier, reliable, better replacement for tire chains

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It’s always nice to use a product that manages to reimagine a product category and surpasses it.

WA state finally made Autosocks legal in 2012 and my wife and I were the first in line to get these. You can put them on in seconds with no effort, tightening, retightening etc needed. They work just as well as chains. You can plough through the snow. They have no metal on them. So no damage to the tires or to the roads. Been using these for two years now – there’s no real catch except you gotta take them off when there’s no snow – the hard dry road will do a number on them. But you shouldn’t be driving on dry road with any traction devices anyway.

I highly recommend the Autosock. Get them here (do check the tire size to get the right fit).

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The makeshift SunFunder India HQ office

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Spent the last month in Africa visiting our partners and seeing SunFunder’s impact on the ground (that will be a long exhaustive blog post of it’s own). Enroute to India, developed an abscess in my hand that required urgent surgery under general anesthesia. Spent the last 4 days recovering from the African infection in a hospital in India which gradually became my makeshift office. Infected hand in upright sling, other hand on IV, surprised at how much I could get done with just one hand in the otherwise peaceful setting. Doctors are still figuring out the right antibiotics since nothing has worked (well I did go to some crazy remote places in Africa$. But in safe hands and hope to be out in time.

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And yes, I am getting enough rest, just had to prep for the New Ventures Investor Forum where I present at a session moderated by the awesome Niki Armacost. Glad to be in India as we plan to launch our first few projects here and look forward to meeting all the awesome people here.

I want my Mountain back. Mt Rainier shut down

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Because of the government shut down all National Parks, including Mt. Rainier, are shut down. Due to websites being considered non-essential, they can’t even update the website to let people know what to expect. Turns out, the roads have been blocked, gates have been locked and it’s not possible to drive into the National Park anymore. Putting this out here because I couldn’t find this info anywhere else. So disappointing.

Mount Rainier Shut Down

Mount Rainier Shut Down

Seattle is the sum of the city and its surroundings

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Sunset from Mt Rainier

Seattle is a growing city with a lot to offer with all its wilderness parks, great restaurants and bars and nightlife. However, just 25 miles in any direction, you experience things I always thought you would need a vacation to access. My wife and I have internalized the Seattle lifestyle and incorporated a lot of backcountry and outdoors into our life. We don’t take the car to work. But we do take the car to get out there where people don’t usually go and enjoy nature on a weekly basis. Here’s what Seattle looks like as experienced via half-day and full-day ventures into it’s surroundings:

You can build a snow-cave on an active volcano, two hours from the city.

You can build a snow-cave on an active volcano, two hours from the city.

You can see gorgeous sunsets any time of the year

You can see gorgeous sunsets any time of the year

You can climb a 12,500ft mountain in one day!

You can climb a 12,500ft mountain in one day!

You can go snowboarding after work

You can go snowboarding after work

Walk alongside glaciers

Walk alongside glaciers

Or plunge into a crevasse on the awesome glaciers

Or plunge into a crevasse on the awesome glaciers

Of course, you get the beautiful city views all the time

Of course, you get the beautiful city views all the time

When you start counting the stuff within a 0.5-4 hour radius of the city, coupled with the clean crisp air and beautiful city itself, the bar is set pretty high when you decide to go someplace on a vacation!

Milky Way over Mt. Rainier with climbers making summit attempt

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Growing up in Mumbai, I remember seeing stars above me. I remember vividly that I could see the 30 brightest stars in the Northen Hemisphere as I knew them by name and could find them at night. In the 90s, light pollution came and you couldn’t see anymore. Yet, nothing is more awestriking yet relatively easily accessible than a simple moonless, starlit night. At least for now, you can just get away from man-made settlements by maybe a couple of hour to experience that.

Last week I went with friends over the Sunrise Point in Mt. Rainier. The visibility forecast for it was very good and I was hoping to capture the Milky Way on my camera using a long exposure.

Here are the results. All the light in this picture is coming from the Milky Way and other starlight. There was no moon, and no other man made light leaking through. The dots on the mountain itself are climbers making a summit attempt.


Milky Way over Mt Rainier by Sameer Halai on 500px.com