The air grew stuffier as the cavern narrowed, progressing ever deeper into the mountainside. My headlamp, which had barely reached the walls of the cavern earlier, now lit up the entirety of the passage through which I now passed.
I passed a handful of passages that branched off the main path. I stuck to that, despite sometimes feeling the gentle flow of air from then, helping to ease, however briefly, the stifling of the otherwise unmoving air.
For an hour or more I followed the passage, more convinced with every step I was the first to tread this way in countless years. Could it be true? Could everything I had discovered about this legendary mountain be true?
An hour more I made my way between the roughhewn walls, down, down, into the mountain, until the floor beneath my feet began to smooth, and I found myself feeling, for the first time since entering the cavern, a breeze stiff enough to ruffle my blond hair, drying the sweat from my exertions and tickling my eyes and nose.
Had I walked so far, so deep from the near-summit of the mount I had, unwittingly, made my way to another exit, or entrance, a doorway out of the absolute darkness and back into the light of the early fall sun?