We camped on the edge of the Grand Canyon National Park border and in the morning had a four mile walk down a dirt road to reach the trailhead which would lead us down Nankoweap Canyon to the Colorado River. We had arrived to our camp spot after dark the night prior and in the morning we became fully engrossed in some conversation as we began walking out of the field and onto the road. It wasn't until over an hour later that we decided to check our maps assuming we were very close to our trailhead and realized that we had been walking in the wrong direction all morning. We still amaze ourselves at our ability to make these stupid simple mistakes, but we laughed at our far too familiar blunder and turned around because there was nothing else we could do.
When we finally reached our trailhead (a 10-12 mile hike that should have been 4) we found a familiar tent set up surrounded by the telltale signs of a retrieved cache of five gallon buckets and we knew it must be Dan and Jen. Shilo confirmed this with her excited prancing around and we spotted them on a bluff with amazing views of the canyon below. We stopped by for a short visit and then had to push on down the trail as we intended to reach the creek at the bottom of Nankoweap which showed as 7.8 miles away on our maps.
We had read a warning in one of our papers that our maps were 10-25% off on mileage accuracy throughout the entire Grand Canyon when compared to other canyon maps, but we didn't imagine that this would truly be the case for all mileage. We followed an amazing trail that skirted the edge of towering cliffs and pushed our comfort in a few steep areas until the sun set in dazzling colors and we took out our headlamps in the darkness of night. Finally the contouring trail began a decent into the canyon as we finished the last of our water. We continued down in the dark, my pace slowing as the night grew on and the last miles became a painful march to the creek. When we finally arrived we filled our water bottles, set up our tarp and happily crawled into bed.
We later found that the trail was about three miles longer than our maps indicated. We should have known at that moment our supposed 150 miles in the Grand Canyon were going to be long miles.