Today was the day that we have all been waiting for! We headed off to the smokey mountains where the family reunion was to be held. We stayed at a really beautiful big cabin on the lake that had beds for days but by far the best thing about this house is it came with a golf buggy… so Chris and I got on that straight away, we went for a cruise to our cute little jetty and back. Later for dinner we headed up to the top of the mountain where the other half of the family was staying and met people and had a delicious dinner…everyone was so nice and friendly! We had a lot of catching up to do as some cousins said they didn’t even know about Chris till a short time ago haha… long lost cousins.
The second day Chris and I slept in, but when we got up we drove the buggy down to the lake and jumped straight in. It was perfect temperature and such a perfect sunny day. Then we lazed for a bit in the sun on the jetty working on our tan because we are white as snow! Plus this is prob the only time we will really be able to do this and the sun doesn’t really exist in London or swimming for that matter. So we are safely embracing this time with lots of sunscreen and shade when we can. Then we went back up the mountain for lunch… it felt like Christmas with a big turkey leg on the table haha. We ate our lunch on the balcony overlooking the whole lake while sitting on a rocking chair. After lunch we went for a ride on the boat and a swim in the lake. Then back up the mountain for dinner. This was a more relaxed evening as we all knew each other by this time.
Third day we had a Aussie breakfast, Vegemite on toast. We thought it tasted funny and so we thought there was something wrong with the Vegemite as it tasted sweet…then we looked at the bread ingredients and it has SUGAR and SYRUPs it was super sweet and disgusting. Chris and I went out on the paddle boat. It was so nice as it was another perfect day – blue sky, sun shining and breeze blowing. We paddled about 500 meters from our dock and it was tiring but we have to work off all the food some how! We stopped, and jumped in for a swim which was super refreshing and then peddled back. The night ended with a jam sesh… all the Gillis lads seem to know how to play guitar and sing… that’s something Chris missed out on:(
Fourth day we headed off for a family hike so we planned for an early morning get away at 9am and of course left at noon… 3hours late. but if you know Chris Gillis… well this is where he gets it from. Running late runs in the family. We hiked up a small hill that was already on top of a mountain with a great view – hiking the American way! And then headed for a swim at Bust-Your-Butt Falls. That is a legit name for this place. It was so similar to Cairns with rocks to jump off and slide down. It was seriously so good to be swimming in a creek, that’s one thing we really miss about Cairns. It has the best creeks. Tonight we had a Bonfire beside the lake and made our first proper s’mores with graham crackers, marshmallows and fancy dark chocolate. Usually they use Hershey’s, but if you paid attention to a picture in one of the previous blogs I was throwing a whole bar of Hershey’s in the bin and that’s a big deal for me as I am a chocolate fan but that was not chocolate. It was a good experience I highly recommend dark chocolate as the rest of the s’more is sweet. We all tried one each and then went back to just plain toasted marshmallows.
Fifth day we slept in real good and then headed to the lake with everyone which was a really nice time. Chris and I packed a picnic lunch and canoed in a 1 man tiny canoe to the other side of the lake. We tried so hard not to capsize and we did really well. I guess we work good as a team as we never fell in. We ate lunch and had a small swim and canoed back over… We were almost back and we saw one of Chris’ uncles swimming toward us with a sneaky smirk on his face, so we panicked and tried really hard to get away from him as we knew what his goal was. We almost capsized ourselves trying to get away, but we were too good and his goal was not successful. Tonight was the last big family dinner with everyone which was sad! But it has been so nice to meet everyone they are all so lovely and now we have these great connections with really cool family from Chris’ side. We got to look at some really old original photo slides and they were all so cool!
The last day while most people went home a handful of us went horse riding. For me, this was my first time horse riding. We all lined up as the instructors decided which horse would suit each person. I got a white horse named smokey and Chris got a nice dark brown horse called Star. Once we were all paired up, we were off heading out on an hour trail ride. At one point I was trying to get my horse to go forward but instead he started walking backwards… that felt super weird. My fav part was when we went uphill as the horse would go faster. Towards the end we saw a deer and her baby, that was super cute. Horse riding was so much fun! I really recommend it if you ever get a chance!