The regulation miner’s cabin is 12 by 14 with walls six feet high and gables eight feet in height. The roof is heavily earthed and the cabin is generally kept very warm. Two, or sometimes three or four men will live in a house of this size. The ventilation is usually bad, the windows being very small. Those miners who do not work their claims during the winter confine themselves to these small huts most of the time. Very often they become indolent and careless, only eating those things which are most easily cooked or prepared. During the busy time in summer when they are shovelling in, they work hard and for long hours, sparing little time for eating and much less for cooking.
This manner of living is quite common amongst beginners, and soon leads to debility and sometimes to scurvy. Old miners have learned from experience to value health more than gold, and they therefore spare no expense in procuring the best and most varied outfit of food that can be obtained.
In a cold climate such as this, where it is impossible to get fresh vegetables and fruits, it is most important that the best substitutes for these should be provided. Nature helps to supply these wants by growing cranberries and other wild fruits in abundance, but men in summer are usually too busy to avail themselves of these.
The diseases met with in this country are dyspepsia, anaemia, scurvy caused by improperly cooked food, sameness of diet, overwork, want of fresh vegetables, overheated and badly ventilated houses; rheumatism, pneumonia, bronchitis, enteritis, cystitis and other acute diseases, from exposure to wet and cold; debility and chronic diseases, due to excesses.
Men coming to Klondyke should be sober, strong and healthy. They should be practical men, able to adapt themselves quickly to their surroundings. Special care should be taken to see that their lungs are sound, that they are free from rheumatism and rheumatic tendency, and that their joints, especially knee joints, are strong and have never been weakened by injury, synovitis or other disease. It is also very important to consider their temperaments. Men should be of cheerful, hopeful dispositions and willing workers. Those of sullen, morose natures, although they may be good workers, are very apt, as soon as the novelty of the country wears off, to become dissatisfied, pessimistic and melancholy.
OUTFIT FOR MINERS.
In giving any advice for outfits for miners, I should first state that it is a great mistake to purchase anything whatever before arriving at Juneau, Alaska. This has been a supply point for that region for upwards of ten years, and store-keepers and supply companies carry in stock exactly what is necessary for the miners. You will find that their prices are reasonable, considering the difference in cost of transportation at any point you might decide to purchase from in the United States; in fact it is the saving of money to buy in Juneau.