Originally from the Midwest too and am now in CO. I spend almost every summer weekend in the mountains - often with screaming, yelling, and laughing little kids. Bears and mountain lions and even coyotes are always on the back of my mind. Sidearm of choice is typically a Glock 20 with handloads. I've also carried a S&W 29 Mountain Gun in .44mag, but it generally gets left behind. It's heavier, the bullets are heavier, and it's LOUD if you have pull the trigger. (Without ear muffs they are all loud, don't get wrong, but revolvers leave my ears ringing for days.) Ballistically, the 10mm is not close to a .44mag - even with my Chuck Norris strong reloads, however the .44 mag out of a 4" barrel isn't that powerful either - especially when compared to a rifle. I like to think I can hold my own in the strength department, but recoil with full-power, 300 grain loads in a light weight .44 mag is BRUTAL.
Here's my thinking... The 10mm is more than adequate for mountain lion, coyote, and 2 legged vermin, it's marginal for black bear (It's only downfall). The Glock is incredibly durable, easy to clean, relatively light, very reliable, and with just one spare magazine, I can have 30 rounds on me or in my pack. With my handloads it's accurate enough to split a bullet on an axe blade at 25 feet.
The only advantages with the .44 mag mountain gun is that you can shoot .44 Specials out of it for practice or small game, and well, the obvious one, that it has significantly more power.
I am very comfortable carrying the 10mm in Colorado. If Grizzlies were an issue...my choice would be significantly different.