It was certainly
not cheap to outfit yourself as a miner. To
live out in the wild woods of the Cariboo, you had to be prepared for
anything and everything - from rain and snow to bears, and especially for
the really nasty mosquitoes! To see what you
would likely have to pack with you into the Cariboo, have a look at this list of equipment that was recommended for the
Food was very
limited and expensive in the goldfields because it had to be brought in by trail from Victoria. Most times you had nothing but beans and bread to eat!
Here is a quote from a diary of a miner working on a claim:
"...the bill of fare which was for breakfast, beans, meat and tea and the
same for dinner (lunch) - for supper little better bread would be on the
table as well as butter and beans."
Living conditions were rustic. Most miners lived in tents at first, although a log cabin was preferable, especially in the rain and cold.
Log cabins were crude,
one room houses. Nothing was fancy. The cabins were built out of rough-hewn (unfinished) logs without using nails, and generally lacked
proper glass windows or wood-stoves.
Why, even the renowned Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie had to live in a
one-room log cabin that he called home in Richfield.
As with other gold rushes, entrepreneurs followed the miners. Soon dance halls and saloons sprang up to help the miners
forget the hardships they endured. In Barkerville, a troupe of Dutch and German dancing girls, the "Hurdy Gurdies", came under chaperone, up to the Cariboo
from the dance halls of San Francisco. They were featured as the main attraction in a saloon
in Barkerville, where miners were charged one dollar to dance with them.
With so few women in the towns, the Anglican Minister in Lillooet, Robert C. Brown, initiated
the Columbia Emigration Society. Its purpose was to arrange for young women from England
to be sent to the Cariboo as potential brides for the miners, some of whom might become very rich!