July 13.—Bending our steps backwards, to search for water in the eastern hills, we were lucky enough to fall in with a puddle in the plains, at which we watered our horses, and again proceeded.
Selecting one of the larger watercourses running out from the hills, we traced it up a considerable distance, examining all its minor branches carefully, and sparing no pains in seeking a permanent spring of water; the channel, however, gradually diminished in size, as we occasionally passed the junctions of small branches from the various gorges; the gum–trees on its course were either dead or dying; the hills, which at a distance had appeared very rugged and lofty, upon a nearer approach turned out to be mere detached eminences of moderate elevation, covered with loose stones, but without the least sign of water.
About two o’clock, P.M. we passed a little grass, and as the day appeared likely to become rainy, I halted for the night. Leaving the native boy to hobble the horses, I took my gun and ascended one of the hills near me for a view. Lake Torrens was visible to the west, and Mount Deception to the N.W. but higher hills near me, shut out the view in every other direction. In descending, I followed a little rocky gully leading to the main watercourse, and to my surprise and joy, discovered a small but deep pool of water in a hole of the rock: upon sounding the depth, I found it would last us some time, and that I might safely bring on my party thus far, until I could look for some other point for a depot still farther north; the little channel where the water was, I named Depot Pool.
Regaining the camp, I immediately set to work with the native boy to construct a bough hut, as the weather looked very threatening. We had hardly completed it before the rain came down in torrents, and water was soon laying every where in the ledges of rock in the bed of the watercourse. So little do we know what is before us, and so short a time is necessary to change the aspect of affairs, and frequently too, when we least expect it!