Wednesday, 14th December, Lake Torrens.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Third Expedition
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Wednesday, 14th December, Lake Torrens. At the first dawn of day I got to the top of the hill, and remained there some time after sunrise. To the south-east there is the appearance of a point of land, which I suppose to be the island which I saw when I first struck the lake. There is the appearance of water between. A little more to the eastward I can see nothing but horizon. To the east there is again the appearance of very low distant land--a mere dark line when seen through a powerful telescope. To the north of that there is nothing visible but the horizon, with a blue and white streak between. To the north-north-east beyond the point, a little low land is to be seen running out from the point, with water in the far distance. Rode down to the beach to see what that was composed of; found it to be sand, mud and gravel; firm ground next the shore. Tried a little distance with the horses, but found it too soft to proceed with them. I then dismounted, and tried it on foot, but could only get about two miles; it became so soft, that I was sinking to the ankles, and the clay was so very tenacious that it completely tired me before I got back to the horses. The quantity of salt was not so great here as at the first place I examined. What I thought was a point of land bearing north-north-east turns out to be an island, which I can see from here. The point of the bay is north from where I took the bearings. Between the island and the point I can see nothing but horizon; too low to see any water. Traced the creek up for seven miles in search of water or springs, but could see none, nor any indications. Had breakfast, and started on a course of 20 degrees north of west in search of water or springs. Crossed the Davenport and ascended a low range, but still could not see any indications of water; the country similar to that passed over yesterday. Changed my bearing towards the camp, and arrived there a little before sundown. The horses were very thirsty, and drank an awful quantity of water, but being hot it will do them no harm. It is remarkable that to east of the hot springs I can find no others. This is the third time I have tried it, and been unsuccessful. I am almost afraid that the next time I try the lake I shall not find the north boundary of it. Where can all this water drain to? It is a mystery.