Sitting on the couch watching television, it felt like a normal Sunday night.  Suddenly, the strumming of my cell phone broke through my tranquility.  Glancing down, I saw the number of my friend who lived in town.

Knowing we get spotty cell service at best, I picked up our landline phone and called her back.

“Is your power out?”

I paused for a second.  Everything had seemed so typical, I had forgotten the power had gone out six hours earlier.

“Yeah, our power went out around three o’clock.  What about you?”

“It’s been out all over town ever since then.   All the stores and restaurants are closed in town, so I went home.”

“Wow, I didn’t realize it was that wide spread.  Is it out in Big Springs too?”

“I think so, I just see 3 or 4 lights on the hillside.”

“Those are probably from generators. We’ve had ours running since the outage.  God, I don’t know what I’d do without a generator now.  What are you doing?”

“I’ve lit a few candles, and am just kind of hanging out.”

Yep, that was me just five years ago.

Buying a generator is yet another one of those purchases driven by life in the mountains of Colorado.  Something I never even considered before moving here.

In fact, I could probably count the number of extended power outages I’d been through on one hand before moving to Nederland.

While growing up in St. Louis, we had on power outage that lasted 24 hours during a severe ice storm.  I remember we made a roaring fire in the fireplace and pulled out our camping sleeping bags.  Lining them up right alongside the hearth, we used our gas stove to cook and make hot cocoa.  It all seemed so charming and kind of cool.

But once we moved to Nederland, we found out power outages are fairly common, especially in winter.  High winds and heavy snow often bring down power lines.  The outages can last longer due to crews having to navigate icy roads and freezing temperatures.

The first few years, we just toughed it out.  Then one day while at Costco, we spotted a Champion generator on sale with a $200 rebate and bit the bullet.

Last night’s power outage was not typical in that it was fairly extensive, enveloping all of the Town of Nederland.  It even extended most of the way down Boulder Canyon.

Our curiosity got the best of us after the sun set.  What would town be like with no lights?  We drove down Peak to Peak Highway past the eerily dark library and gas stations.  The only light in the B and F Shopping Center was the headlights from a Boulder County Sheriff vehicle, probabl