Gold Rush Town

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Where I stayed
Barkerville campsite

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yesterday we visited Barkerville, a National Historic Site. Nobody lives there now, but 150 restored 1860 buildings remain in the town. In 1862 Billy Barker discovered gold on Williams Creek, and caused a gold rush into the area. Over the next 8 years all the fortune seekers travelled the Cariboo Wagon Road to Barkerville. Now it is a tourist attraction, and people dressed in period clothes take walking tours around the town. There are stage coach rides, blacksmiths, theatre productions, Chinatown tours, demonstrations of the Cornish wheel, little shops selling things from that time, and small eating places. It seems a popular school destination and the children go for lessons in the schoolhouse. They also have a little Chinese school where they are taught some Chinese writing and abacus work. You can pan for gold there, and generally immerse yourself in that period. An interesting point for me was seeing the doctor's house. He was a Dr Watt, grandson of James Watt, of steam engine fame.
We quite enjoyed it, but it was very touristy, and almost overdone. Not on our list to visit again.
We camped near Barkerville. It was snowing the day before we got there, and Barkerville was pretty muddy and wet. The beautiful llong dresses that the ladies were wearing had very muddy hems.. .But I suppose that's how things were at that time. It can get to -40 in winter. Every shop had a lovely wood-burning stove going. We also saw lots of black bear and caribou along the way. The bears seem to like eating dandelions.

We did have the most delicious fish and chips made with fresh salmon, and yam chips, in the little town of Wells, very close to Barkerville. It was cooked outside and we caught a bit of sunshine while eating al fresco.
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