Welcome everyone, this will be our final blog post for 2011.  It’s been a year of highs and lows with big changes and tons of great adventures.  We’re very much looking forward to 2012 and all it will bring with it.

One of the biggest changes we’ve faced this year was the increase in our workloads, and the effect this has had on our activities here at The Hollow.  As most of our regular readers know we had to curtail our involvement online and via our social media outlets to work on external projects.  This was a very sad realization with very real effects.  We truly miss everyone, but not being a pair of Toads that spends time reflecting on the negative we’d rather look forward and consider the future outcomes from all this effort.  With any luck, all the best laid plans will come to fruition and we’ll be back here at full speed as we once were.

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Lake Cowichan and it’s surroundings in the Cowichan Valley are very active places in the summer.  Tourists and locals alike flock to the area to enjoy the abundant water activities and typically wonderful weather.

Winter finds the area quiet and peaceful, almost as if it awaits the coming seasons.

Mrs. Toad and I found ourselves recently out on one of our infamous adventures together.  The lake and its immediate surroundings are an area we frequent during the year due to the gorgeous landscapes.  Forest, mountains and lakes are all predominant here, creating scenes unlike those seen anywhere else.

In the dead of winter, one is left with a strong sense of peace.  You can stand by the side of the road and not see a car pass for quite some time.  This leaves us truly feeling like we’re the only Toads on the planet, and that we’ve found a secret hideaway full of wonder and beauty.  We think this is the perfect place to visit with you as the year comes to an end and we look forward to all the wonder that 2012 has in store for us.

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Just before you find the town of Mesachie Lake sits this summer camp.  It’s been a scene we’ve been meaning to photograph for quite some time.  As the lovely Mrs. Toad and I stood here holding hands and taking in the landscape, we were truly struck by the incredible beauty and wonderful contrasts that this little place shares.  It was a cold, cold day but when you have your lifelong love in your arms everything seems much brighter and warmer.

I am truly a blessed Toad to have such a wonderful girl to share my life with.  Today’s post is dedicated to her.

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The frost never really left this day.  Even late in the afternoon this particular spot is absolutely bereft of sunlight, and thus the frost didn’t get a chance to change form.  This suited us just fine as it presented a beautiful accent to the scene.  The air was crisp, but felt clean as our breath formed clouds of dense fog.

Not a sound permeated the area; even the birds have all but completely packed up and headed for warmer environs.  That strong sense of still is both wondrous to behold, but is also a little eery.

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Far off to the right sits this beautiful little home.  Perhaps the home for the caretakers of the camp, perhaps just a house that sits next to it…  through the trees peeks the still lake which reflects the warm tones from the sky back to us.

The only sentries to remain are the trees.  In this image we can see a special stump that appears at first glance to be an open hand reaching to the sky.  It felt as if it was reaching for the sun, to bring it closer.

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Mesachie Lake - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

As we take in this last scene for the day, we find ourselves mesmerized by the contrast of the dense forest that envelops the town peppered with the character homes that reside here.  A wood stove puffs in the cold winter air, furthering the sense of mystery and wonder.

As my beautiful wife and I stood here looking down the road that appears to go on forever, we felt a strong hopefulness overcome us.  We’re not exactly sure what awaits us down the road, but we do know we’re entranced by that which surrounds us here today, and the future is something we are embracing with longing and love.

But never ones to hurry a journey, we take each step one after the other.  The road will reveal its mysteries in its own due time.  No need to rush.  No need to push time along.  No need to miss a single detail or experience as we travel together.

Life is a truly beautiful thing, my friends.  We can only hope that you are looking forward to what the new year will bring as much as we are.  And on that note, we’d really like to thank everyone for all their support over the course of 2011.  Happy New Year, our dear friends, and may 2012 be all that you wish for, and more.

Happy New Year, from The Toads to you.



  1. Wonderful write up. Loved all of these images as they remind me of when we lived in the midwest. I truly miss the snow.

  2. avatar Fred Norris says:

    Thank you for sharing all the incredible blogs this year old boy!Blimey I really look foward to all that 2012 has to offer ,especially your blog.Your images are unbelievable and your stories are always informative and entertaining!All the best to the Toads in 2012

  3. avatar LensScaper says:

    A quality post. I love that last image particularly leading to a bend in the road – somehow symbolising the future – as yet not fully known. An apt image to finish on. All the very best to you and Mrs Toad for the new year. I will look forward to the journey through 2012, enlivened by your insightful posts. Happy New Year

    • What a wonderful sentiment, my friend, we appreciate that more than we can say! Thank you so, so much. Best wishes to you and your family for the New Year, Andy, we hope that the New Year brings you much peace, health and joy!

  4. avatar Jerry Denham says:

    Beautiful photography and post Toad. Hope you and Mrs. Toad have a wonderful and safe New Year!

  5. avatar Curt Fleenor says:

    A great post to top off the year! Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Toad!

  6. avatar Jim Denham says:

    Another great post and great place that seems to scream Toad Hollow! Looking forward to the Toads’ future and what it holds, but most importantly, the continued friendship of a truly genuine dude! Thanks for being who you are Toad!

    • You, sir, are a true scholar and a gentleman! Thank you Jim! Your friendship and support here for us this year has been truly phenomenal and please know that we appreciate it more than we can properly express here. You’re the real deal, Jim, best wishes for you and the entire Denham family for 2012!

  7. avatar Mike says:

    A great post to end the year with Toad. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting and getting to know you this year. In 2012, we’ll have to top this with a visit! Happy New Year to you both!

  8. avatar tomdinning says:

    I’ve got to admit I don’t splatter nearly as many toads as I used to. I now say “g’day” as I approach with my sturdy toad anihilator just in case one replied with a Canadian accent. Oops! There’s another one.
    Hey! Wart face. Is your name Scotty? No?
    Then cop this.
    ‘Whack!!!!’
    Ech! I hope that was no-one you knew.
    See ya in 2012.

    • Uncle Hoppy stills has a small limp from last time you met, but all in all we have to say that we’re pretty impressed with your overall Toad considerations in general this year Tom! If we can be a small part of saving a toad somewhere, we’re happy. Have I mentioned that you’re not really supposed to lick the Cane Toads yet, Tom? I read that somewhere.

      Best of wishes to you and Christine, my friend. Thank you so much for all your friendship, support and encouragement this year. Coming from you it has meant a great deal to us. You are the best of the best, Tom, even with your propensity to squish innocent amphibians in your door. We love you anyways.

  9. avatar Rick says:

    Love this post! I find that hitting some of the tourist attractions in the off season is the best time. Quiet serene beauty takes over and you get to enjoy it without the hustle and bustle. National Parks here in the winter months are amazing! Have a great new year! My best to the Toads!

  10. avatar Jim Nix says:

    Nice post Toad and I do hope that you and the Mrs. have a wonderful and prosperous 2012! Thanks for your support in 2011 and I look forward to seeing what lovely-ness you bring us in the new year! Blessings on you!

  11. Happy New Year Mr. and Mrs. Toad!! I have so much enjoyed following your blog this year, I love your unique view on the world and especially how you view places that are so familiar to me. Thank you so much for all of your support over the past year. Have a great time bringing in the new year and good light in 2012!

    • Thank you SO SO much, Anne, what a wonderful comment! We feel the same about you! I will never forget that day I did the shoot of the houses over on Cloverdale they were demo’ing and the fact that you walked right past me. LOL :) Best wishes on your adventure this year, we are following along with much happiness here!

  12. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    What a fantastic end to the year, and such beautiful sentiments towards Mrs. Toad! A very beautifully done, and moving post Toad! Thank you so much for all the great images and posts that you’ve put so much time and energy into all through the year! Wishing you both all the best in 2012 my friend! :)

  13. OK…I’m not sure how I missed this the other day. Wonderful post Toad. What a glorious place and the images really bring out the beauty of it. I am so fortunate to have found you and your site this year and have so enjoyed your images and posts. You are such a giving and supportive individual. Wishing you and Mrs. Toad a Happy, healthy & prosperous New Year.

    • You, my dear, are a true and wonderful friend. Thank you SO kindly for your wonderful comments and thoughts here, Edith, and rest assured we feel blessed to have found you in our lives. We are truly looking forward to seeing what you have to share with us in 2012, and we also thank you for everything! Best wishes!

  14. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Beautiful images Toad. I have been away for the holidays and wanted to make sure I visited to say Happy New Year. You have been so supportive to the photography community (as well as me) and wanted to thank you and Mrs Toad for that.

    • Thank you kindly, Len, you are a true scholar and a gentleman! Thanks to you, as well, for all the kindness and support you’ve given us this year. It’s meant far more than we can properly express here. Thank you, kind friend!

  15. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Nice set man. Looks like a fun camp. Happy new year to you!

  16. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Happy New Year, my friend!
    This is another in a long line of outstanding post. Nice work, man.

  17. avatar myallegro31 says:

    What a glorious place to visit! I am sorry about to tough times, but you guys seem like you have bounced back with a vengence and I look forward to following your adventures and sharing with you my own here in 2012. Thanks for providiing some beautiful words along with wonderful photos! Happy New Year!

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