YAKIMA, Wash. — If you're going to get a lesson in the great outdoors, Rimrock Lake is the perfect classroom.
"This lake is so special, it is breathtaking. It's huge," said Shannon Mahre. "You're not going to even see all of it today, because it's that big."
Mahre's been an athlete all her life. But it’s sharing her love of outdoor activities with other women that led her to create classes called, Girls with Grit.
"Coaching, it definitely brings an aspect to my life that nothing else does. And so, I decided to start coaching all the sports that I loved," Mahre said. "Hence, Girls with Grit kind of came into existence, and it's just grown since then. I just keep adding sports on that I love and bringing more women together and creating community."
The session at Rimrock Lake was a paddleboarding clinic.
After going over safety tips and boarding basics to start the session, the group moves to the water.
Mahre said paddleboarding is something people of any age or skill level can do.
"Beginners come to our clinics, even on the river, and they do great," Shannon said. "You can have older people. You can have people with disabilities. You can have people that aren't, you know, in athletic shape to maybe even go for a hike, but they can go paddleboard."
It also allows people to have fun and be adventurous while working out.
"You can go places on it while you're paddleboarding but you're getting a workout even though you don't realize you're getting a workout, which is probably the best part."
Mahre said that when she moved to the Yakima Valley, she didn't know spots like Rimrock Lake existed. As someone who formerly lived in western Washington, she pictured the area as a desert.
"I mean, you drive 20 minutes outside of Yakima, and you have trees and mountains and trails. The amount of outdoor activities that we have access to from very close to Yakima, it's insane," Shannon said.
From boating and fishing to paddleboarding and swimming, the area offers numerous outdoor activities.
"You name an activity that's outdoors and there's something here that's spectacular."
Spectacular and empowering — Shannon's Girls with Grit encourages others to try something new.
"Helping people grow, giving them confidence. Showing them they can do things that they really never thought that they could."
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