May 26. — Up early, and Wylie, who had been eating the whole night, was so thirsty, that he actually walked all the way through the dew and cold of the morning to the water to drink, as I could only afford him one pint out of the kegs. We had now been in camp six clear days, at this most favourable position; we had got an abundant and wholesome supply of provisions for ourselves, and had been enabled to allow our horses to enjoy a long unbroken interval of rest, amidst the best of pasturage, and where there was excellent water. Now that we were again going to continue our route, I found that the horses were so much improved in appearance and in strength, that I thought we might once again venture, without oppression to the animals, occasionally to ride; I selected therefore, the strongest from among them for this purpose, and Wylie and myself walked and rode alternately; after passing the scrubby sand-ridges, and descending to the open downs behind them, I steered direct for Cape Arid, cutting off Cape Pasley, and encamping after a stage of eighteen miles, where it bore south-east of us. We halted for the night upon a ridge timbered with casuarinae, and abounding in grass. Once more we were in a country where trees were found, and again we were able at night to make our fires of large logs, which did not incessantly require renewing to prevent their going out. We had now crossed the level bank which had so long shut out the interior from us; gradually it had declined in elevation, until at last it had merged in the surrounding country, and we hardly knew where it commenced, or how it ended. The high bluff and craggy hills, whose tops we had formerly seen, stood out now in bold relief, with a low level tract of country stretching to their base, covered with dwarf brush, heathy plants and grass-tree, with many intervals of open grassy land, and abounding in kangaroos. I named these lofty and abrupt mountain masses the “Russell Range,” after the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies — Lord John Russell. They constitute the first great break in the character and appearance of the country for many hundreds of miles, and they offer a point of great interest, from which future researches may hereafter be made towards the interior. Nearer to the coast, and on either side of Cape Pasley were sand-drifts, in which I have no doubt that water might have been procured. We found none where we were encamped, but had sufficient in the kegs for our own use, and the horses were not thirsty; many and recent tracks of natives were observed, but the people themselves were not seen.
- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 2 - Ch 3
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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