"I am probably getting even more people in here laughing and thinking that I am crazy," Mike Spafford said.
Spafford has been selling gold panning equipment at Mike's Country Store for years, and while some people may be surprised to hear there is gold in Vermont, his customers have proof.
"There is one family who shops here, a mom, dad and the children, and they pack lunch every weekend and go to a local river. And last year from April to October they found enough gold to pay their property taxes," Spafford said.
Jerry Jokinen of Castleton started panning for gold with his brother 30 years ago.
"It's like going fishing without the smelly worms and fish hooks," Jokinen said.
And while he would not say how much gold he has found over the years, he is not hanging up his pan any time soon.
"We just do it for a hobby, but my other car is a Volvo. That tells you something," he said.
While the devastation from Tropical Storm Irene is still being tabulated and communities are struggling with repairs, all the erosion has opened up new places to pan.
"The devastation from the flood goes without saying that is an awful, awful thing," Jokinen said. "On the good side, looking for gold, it moved the gold. It moved a lot of dirt, it cleaned a lot of places where you would have to dig before, so there is a lot more out there than there used to be as far as finding it is concerned."
While Jokinen would not share his favorite panning place, he did share the correct technique. The idea is that gold is 19.3 times heavier than water, so you let the water wash over the rocks, and the gravel and the gold will stay behind. At least that is the theory."
And within minutes Reporter Judy Simpson found what she thinks are a couple flakes of gold.
Simpson: So, in here I have a couple of rocks I think might have some gold in them, but then there are a couple of gold flakes in the bottom. And there you have it-- the start of my gold empire.
"Once you get gold fever, you have it for life, believe me," Jokinen said.
And he may be right.
While gold has been found from Southern Vermont up to Canada, it is important to remember if you do want to do some panning, make sure you are not trespassing on private property.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:58 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:58:11 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
A Montgomery farmer and a sheriff's deputy joined forces for a daring rescue to help a woman who got trapped in her truck by rising floodwaters.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:09:50 GMT
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont. SheldonMore >>
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont.More >>