May 20. — The sick horse was better to-day, and as they had all found their way back to the best grass, I determined to remain in camp. Wylie took the rifle, and again went out kangarooing, whilst I took a long walk to examine the country, and look out for a line of road to proceed by, when we left our present position. I was anxious, if possible, to give over travelling along the beach where the sands were so loose and heavy, not only causing great extra fatigue to the horses, but adding also considerably to the distance we should otherwise have to travel. For some distance I passed over steep ridges, densely covered with large tea-trees or with other scrub, after which I emerged upon open sandy downs, covered with low shrubs or bushes, and frequently having patches of good grass interspersed; the grass-tree was here met with for the first time, but not very abundantly. This description of country continued between the coast and the low level bank which still shut out all view of the interior, though it had greatly decreased in elevation as we advanced to the west, and appeared as if it would soon merge in the level of the country around. The day was tolerably fine, but windy, and a few slight showers fell at intervals. At dusk I got up the horses, watered them, and was preparing to remove the baggage to a more sheltered place, when Wylie made his appearance, with the gratifying intelligence that he had shot one kangaroo, and wounded another; the dead one he said was too far away for us to get it to-night, and we, therefore, (very unwillingly,) left it until the morning, and at present only removed our baggage nearer to the grass, and among thick clumps of tea-trees where we had shelter and firewood in abundance. The only inconvenience being that we were obliged to be economical of water, having to bring it all from the sand-drifts, and our kegs only carrying a few quarts at a time. In the prospect of a supply of kangaroo, we finished the last of our horse-flesh to-night. It had lasted us tolerably well, and though we had not gained above sixty-five miles of distance, since we commenced it, yet we had accomplished this so gradually, that the horses had not suffered so much as might have been expected, and were improving somewhat in strength and appearance every day. It was much to have got them to advance at all, considering the dreadful sufferings they had endured previous to our arrival at water on the 3rd of May.
- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 2 - Ch 3
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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