Seeing our awesome(ly adventurous) friend Brenna in Salt Lake City was a definite spirit-lifter [she's the sort of fantastic that brightens an entire trip], but given how we stayed up late chatting and then went directly from her place to nab the highest Wasatch peak (Nebo – always a great trail), even that stretch through Utah wasn't exactly restful.
Arches National Park was exceptionally gorgeous, but travel logistics meant we didn't get there until mid-afternoon and by then it was a hilarious 105 degrees in the shade and incredibly crowded. Still, definitely worth the stop. The campground we were planning on staying at in Canyonlands was closed due to flash-flood warnings so we found a place to pull-off and sleep higher in the valley, but a formidable wind-storm meant we were faced with another not-exactly-sleep-laden night.
So, for next year: Fewer side trips before arriving in Colorado. Come into Hardrock rested. Get there sooner, so we have time to play and explore before it gets busy and turns into a junk show. Don't drive into the less accessible aid stations, or do so at a time that it won't be busy with four-wheelers. Know that most of the aid station volunteers will be extraneous, and will need to sleep most of the night. Know that we'll need to get some sleep early in the evening, so that we're ready to go all night. Give ourselves even more time to adjust to the altitude.
We will be back. And we'll be much, much smarter about it next time.