Chapter 1. Down the Rabbit Hole
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
— Joseph Campbell
The entire situation was unfamiliar. I was in a part of the world I had never seen—the foothills of the Trinity Alps in Northern California, deep in the heart of Humboldt County, where the cell phone reception seemed as prehistoric as the surrounding landscape. We completed the seven-hour drive from San Francisco, through the giant redwood forest, to explore the Hall City Cave. The beam of light emanating from my headlamp exposed vivid details: threatening stalactites, a rock wall covered in spiders, and a few inverted, sleeping bats. I was carrying a large yellow Pelican case containing an underwater robot I had helped design and build. That ...