This is God's country. Too beautiful for words. The secret is out, more accessible but not unlike the endless line of mountaineers waiting to summit Everest; if you have the means, motivation, and ability you're welcome to come, just leave it as you found it.
I have always thought that generation Montero was the perfect all-rounder; practical dimensions, 7 seats, reliable and with good power (for the time) from the petrol or diesel options. When I owned a Lancer Evo 5, I had dreams of adding the (then cheap) Pajero Evolution homologation special to the garage. Due to a lack of brand loyalty and obsession with scanning classifieds, that goal has instead been replaced in reality with a WRX and XJ Cherokee; the only commonality being the 1994 build year... Also, I hate to be this pedantic, but the Dakar Rally takes place in January, meaning that victory occurred prior to Mitsubishi taking the 1998 WRC.
Welcome to Moab: One of my favorite places to camp, hike, sightsee and go 4 wheeling. It is a wonderful spot. While I am a Jeep guy, I find all 4x4s equally accepted out on the trail. One of my fun days there we took the "rental car" SUV out on a fairly easy trail... Folks laughed and called us crazy out on the trail, but we had a blast, met some new folks and were rewarded with a fun hike and great view. Love your roof top tent... I am lazy and often just sleep on the ground on a hiking pad. Nights are indeed quiet and magical out there. Nice write up! (FYI - I am also a Michigan resident)