I'll just turn back and go the other way. Some of these pathways are tight, and there are caves I don't like to walk through alone, but I always find an exit.
Then the light goes out.
That's when I remember that there are monsters down here. Not wildlife, not animals. I can't call them that. That would be natural. Someone put these things here. Someone spliced together things that were never meant to exist and seeded a quiet cavern with the wretched, writhing spawn of their depravity. They slither silently through the dripping blackness and before I know what's happening, they're winding their way up my legs, tangling in my hair, probing at my mouth, eyes and ears with barbed tentacles. I can't see. Every breath fills my lungs with the slime that drips off the abominations that are trying to devour me.
Sometimes I'm lucky-I pull them off my face, wipe away their toxic secretions, and with one good burst of speed I find way out into the sunlight. Other times they dig in barbs and claws, they burrow under my flesh, and I have to stay and fight. It might be days before I can wrestle them off of me and cleanse my raw, suppurating flesh well enough to crawl down a tunnel looking for a flicker of light, searching for a soft breeze that might mean a door to the outside.
These creatures don't belong here, in my cave. That's why I keep coming back-I have to get rid of them, to mark these tunnels with reflective tape and put up guardrails around the biggest, most dangerous pits. This place is beautiful, and I want to make it safe. So I keep coming back. I tie myself off to something sturdy and bring the biggest lights I can carry. Most of the time I come out safe and sound, with one more rock face made safe to climb. But sometimes I lose my footing. Sometimes one of those things chews through my tether and sends me plummetting into a pit where the walls are sheer and slick.
Some people think it's only a matter of time before I get so lost that someone will have to come rescue me. No one wants to be the one to strap on climbing gear and a helmet lamp and come crawling through these crevices, afraid that around the next turn they might find my lifeless remains. I can't guarantee that will never happen, but I honestly don't think it will. I'm just asking you to trust my sense of direction, trust that I'll always find my own way out, trust that I am strong enough to destroy the monstrosities that have taken up residence down there. And when I've put up my trail markers and dredged the corpses of those hideous beasts out of all the beautiful water, maybe you can come swimming with me.