Indeed, I am having an absolute blast!
While writing my reply to Erik, I realized the "why" behind my answer:
I really need to do a better job conveying my emotions because I'm having a blast! I love dungeon crawls generally, but this is the first I've run in awhile where the only intent is to explore. There's no prince/ss to rescue, no object to find, no raid to thwart. It feels a lot like the D&D games I played as a kid.While I have enjoyed each of the many solo dungeon crawls I've run in the last year or so, this one is perhaps the most fun I've had.
It's hard to precisely recollect feelings from 25-30 years ago, but it feels to me that this is the same excitement and fun I had playing when I was 10 or so, and had just discovered D&D b/x. Except for pre-published modules, we went into dungeons because it was the unknown, there were purported riches to be found there, and it begged for exploration.
Of course, later (not that much later at that), influenced by commercial adventures, I would use the traditional objectives for a dungeon crawl for my own creations: rescues, item retrievals, thwarting plans, etc. Still later, I realized that the rules can support a different kind of game entirely - crawls, hex or dungeon, are just one facet of what they can do.
But, as much as I enjoy stretching the rules beyond crawls to investigation type games, for instance, there is something liberating about going into a dungeon solely to explore, and to find fortune, adventure and fame.
It's as if the game was designed for just such a thing! (said while smacking forehead)
A dungeon crawl is not as complex as an investigation game, at least on the surface (no pun intended), but there's a many-layered story to be told here too. Who lives in this dungeon? Who built it? Why did they build it? Are they still here? Will they return? What are the relationships between the creatures in here now? What about between the levels? Do they have contact with the surface world? To what extent and to what ends? Who are these characters stomping about to find loot? What acts of greatness or cowardice will they commit?*
All of this begs to be discovered or, dare I say, investigated. Every new square of the map revealed, every encounter survived, is a thrill. And, survive or not, it's all fun.
*This, by the way, is why I'm flabbergasted when someone says they don't like dungeon crawls.