A Magical Weekend Of Hut Trippin' At Betty Bear And My Guide 40+SL


Deuter Ambassador, Becky Marcelliano, takes a break from the real world to enjoy a backcountry hut trip filled with funny friends, deliciousmeals (including doritos, cookies and whiskey!), games (bananagrams) and time frolicking in sparkling snow covered mountains……….

Last weekend, I ventured on my first "Hut Trip." And by hut I really mean sweet cabin in the woods. Betty Bear Hut is part of the 10th Mountain Division hut system which is a series of backcountry cabins in the Colorado high country. The name honors the men of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army. Today, they can be rented as pretty gnarly little backcountry escapes for winter enthusiasts such as myself. What a magical combination of backcountry and luxury. It's an amazing opportunity to meet new people, drink whiskey in your long underwear starting at 10AM, take naps by the fire, play bananagrams until you go cross-eyed, and cook delicious meals together, while forgetting about the real world and enjoying the views of the Rockies, in which the hut is nestled. Even though this was my first hut experience, I think I'm already addicted.


The hike up consisted of 7 miles of distance and 2000 feet of elevation gain. Because this is the driest winter Colorado has ever seen (maybe not, but come on, will it just snow already?), the first 5 miles were a combination of snowpack and dirt. The last two miles were a long series of steep switchbacks over an icy packed trail, making for slightly treacherous maneuvers and several falls. Finally we needed our snowshoes about a 1/2 mile from our destination. The hike wasn't easy, but we knocked it out long before the sun began to set. Upon arrival, sweaty and tired, we ran around the hut, built a fire, melted snow for water, and shared an entire family size bag of Doritos. Doritos you ask? Yes, I carried a bag of "dorts" on the outside of my Guide 40+ SL the whole time. Sure, they are not exactly healthy and not exactly the typical camping snack of choice and yes, they were slightly crunched by the time we got there. You see, when riding my bike across the country this summer, Doritos were the go-to snack for my riding buddy Carlie and I. Salt deficiency probably played a huge role and the fact we were in tiny towns quite frequently and it was hard to find options other than doritos and ice cream. So anyway, doritos are kind of our trademark silly snack for adventures... and boy o boy were they a hit with the rest of our crew. Later that night we celebrated the 30th birthday of yours truly with some singing and blowing candles out on gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Despite being a cake lover without cake on her birthday...I’m pretty confident the wish I made on a cookie that night really will come true.

This was my first backpack experience using the Guide 40+SL, and it seriously rocked! Not only did I have the best lookin' pack of us Betty Bear hut trippers, but this thing carried loads like a champ. Naturally, we carried jars of pasta sauce, eggs, enough booze for 9 people for 8 days (we were only there for 3), and other heavy things….so my pack on the way up wasn't exactly light. The pack was super easy to adjust and make fit to my back perfectly. One of my favorite features is the long side zip on the main pack compartment. It allows for easy access to all innards such as extra layers, snacks, and water guns to suddenly fire at your friends. Another fabulous feature which I did not (stupidly) take advantage of this trip is the capability to hold a water reservoir. I ended up clipping my bottles to the outside of my pack, but next time I will totally use my reservoir instead! Overall, the Guide 40+SL is a perfect pack for a weekend backpack trip such as this. Any bigger and I probably would have (again stupidly) tried to bring the kitchen sink. Any smaller, and I might have 27 things dangling from the outside like a total rookie. Perfection, Guide 40+, just about perfection...


Our first night brought snow. We woke up to it falling peacefully and it continued until it was 10 inches deep. The snow was light and fluffy. It tasted delicious and was fun to run and jump into. When the sun came out, it sparkled like mad, bringing a whole new appreciation for glitter blowing off the trees and illuminating the ground in all directions. We went sledding on big snow shovels, completed a jigsaw puzzle, wrote silly poems, frolicked around the hut, and just plain ol' had a really great time. Our hike out was absolutely breathtaking... snowy aspen trees, bright blue sky, and a group of hikers snowshoeing through untouched trails high in the mountain splendor.

So, if you have never experienced a Colorado hut, I suggest you do.  It really was a magical blend of fun, relaxation, spirit, and Mother Nature. Once your there, there are no such things as phones and watches. The "real world" melts away and you're left with a whole lot of passion, laughter, and teamwork. Thank you to Betty Bear, my friends, and Deuter for making this one of the best weekends I've had in a long time... til next time, folks...

–Becky Marcelliano (Outdoor Ambassador).

Big enough for everything but the kitchen sink!

Back to Blog