June 13, 2012
The Colorado High
Park Fire and Us
June 29, 2012
High Park Fire
Pics & Update
July 1, 2012
Our First Trip
Back to "Paradise"
July 12, 2012
Ash Day
Reality Check
August 6, 2012
Progress Report &
Pics on the Fire
August 16, 2012
Before & After
Fire Pics
September 12, 2012
After Fire
Progress Update
September 27, 2012
Work Parties and
Donkey Story
November 29, 2012
OK - The Black
Truth Blog
January 2, 2013
Looking Forward,
Looking Back
June 18, 2013
One Year Later -
The High Park Fire
September 20, 2013
We Weathered
the Storm


The following letter was sent on July 1, 2012:


Our First Trip Back to "Paradise" -
the latest Colorado High Park Fire Update

(contains photos - please be patient as they load)

OK, we’re back from our first trip to our mountain neighborhood, Paradise Park, since we were evacuated three weeks ago. First fact – the house is TOAST! It’s now just a huge hole with burned out pieces of blackened metal junk. The fire was so hot it melted glass. However, I was surprised to clearly see a few clean-looking mugs and at least part of a plate. We could also make out the charred outlines of things like the washer, stove, microwave, two file cabinets, and the warped metal frame of what used to be Mike’s favorite recliner.

Mike and I were both surprised at how practically we handled it, even making jokes and laughing when we identified something in the rubble. I think this was due in large part because we were thrilled at how much prayer, firefighter, and angel-protected green surrounded our place. And the studio – the blessed protected studio! – looks like it was gone on vacation for all this disaster, and was plunked right back down in the middle of it all. It’s beautiful and perfect! We walked in, flipped a switch, and power had already been restored! The water is good, and all of our sewing machines, business machinery, resource books, and costumes stored in this building are wonderfully safe! Of course there is a smell of smoke, but we’ll see if insurance can help clear that out.

The miracle Studio/Shop - our new home.

So, while we will certainly mourn the loss of our beautiful house and its treasured contents, we’re so glad we can return “home.” The studio is where Mike and I lived the first year we were married, so coming home to it is a warm experience. Besides our work rooms, Mike’s office, and storage space, it also has a guest bedroom, a cute little kitchen and dining area, and bathroom. At this point, we’re talking of moving into the studio, where we already have a collection of second-best dishes and towels, and sheets for the guest bed, and everything we need to live while we start the cleanup and rebuilding process. One current idea we’re considering is to rebuild a new studio on the site of the old house (complete with a new guest/client quarters), and then once that’s finished, move into it while we gut and rebuild the current pieced-together studio into our new home. That way, I’ll get the sewing room of my dreams, Mike will have a painting studio with perfect north lighting, and we will redesign our new living space together.

Mike's beloved Spencer Mountain, viewed from our front door across the meadow, was scorched to the top. This is one of Mike's greatest regrets. Hundreds of other trees on our property will need to be removed, too.

Mike views an ash flow across our property, caused when any little bit of rain falls on the burnt areas. Erosion control is now a concern.

In the meantime, Mike will begin the financial task of juggling filling leather orders again with having to take time off from leather work to do the necessary months-long job of cutting down and removing hundreds of dead trees, making sure the neighborhood road stays passable due to possible mudslides and erosion, removing debris, and planning and re-building our outbuildings and home.

The point is - we have a plan, and we’re gonna be OK!

Mike's garage and tractor were unscathed! It started right up - good thing, because we're gonna be needing it for all the cleanup.


Thank you to everyone for your continued care and prayers. As you have bountifully offered, we will gratefully accept your help, because this task is too great for just the two of us. Some help will be financial, some for comfort, some with the loan of heavy equipment to clear and build, and some with physical labor. We have a long road ahead of us, but it’s ahead, not behind. Behind us is the pain, tears, fear, and loss, and ahead is the joy of a new road. We’re both artists and designers, you know, and the challenge and joy of what we will plan and what is to come has a great appeal.

Not visible in these photos, our green valley is now surrounded by about 1/2 mile-wide band of black, some of which was torched so fiercely the actual ground is burnt. Too many of our neighbors lost everything, and have nothing but blackness and ash to which to return, if they have the heart. Our miracle oasis has encouraged us to return to Paradise Park and rebuild. Thank God for you and your prayers, His angels, and the brave firefighters from across the country and beyond.


For all of you who wrote and called, I hope in the coming weeks to be able to speak with each of you personally to give you my heartfelt thanks. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Every single email, card, and phone message was read, heard, and appreciated.

This is not the last you’ve heard of us!  : )
I’ll try to keep you posted as our journey progresses….
Most sincerely,
Sharon & Mike Guli
PO Box 127
Bellvue, CO 80512

PS: I plan to post more photos soon on Facebook to be viewed publicly, and will let you know when and give you the link.