Second time's a charm. The weather cooperated beautifully as I left Upper Pines Campground at 6:00 a.m. (by headlamp and a full moon), hiked up to Vernal Fall footbridge, took the John Muir Trail up to the Panorama Trail, the Panorama Trail over Illouette Creek (and the outlook over Illouette Fall). Halfway between Illouette and Glacier Point, I still had not seen one other human. Then they began to pass me. Walking down. No one else was walking up. They all asked if I had hiked up from the valley. One man, when I said yes, said--in heavily accented but perfect English--"Then you are my hero."
My speed was anything but heroic, but no one seemed to care. Including me. Getting up there matters to me. I'm less concerned about when.
I had the option of catching a bus down, but I didn't even ask if there was room. I chose the Four-Mile Trail back down into the valley, then very happily rode an air-conditioned shuttle to connect me back up with my campsite.
Hear that, Grand Canyon? I'm ready, and I'm coming back.