Growing up in Seattle, Maddie Hollister gained a love for outdoor recreation and education attending a summer camp on Puget Sound, where she eventually became a lifeguard and outdoor educator. She studied marine biology and science communication at Quest University in Squamish, BC and spent a few semesters at the UW Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island where she studied the local ecosystems in-depth. Recently, Maddie worked for a non-profit, running outdoor recreation programs for under-resourced youth in Seattle’s South King County. She started her kayak guiding career a few years ago in Seattle’s Elliott Bay and has since spent two summers guiding multi-day trips with Outdoor Odysseys. Maddie is looking forward to joining the admin team this summer, while continuing to guide on occasion.
Outside of guiding Maddie enjoys backpacking, snow sports, travelling, cooking, writing, and searching for marine invertebrates at low tide.
What is your favorite place to paddle other than the San Juans?
I love to paddle around my hometown of West Seattle: Alki Beach, Seahurst Park, and short camping trips to Blake Island. I hope to explore more of the Cascadia Marine Trail in the future which is a scattering of campsites accessible only to human-powered watercraft that spans from the South Puget Sound Basin to the San Juan Islands.
Most amazing outdoor and/or wildlife experience you’ve ever had?
One of my most amazing outdoor experiences happened on a recent trip to the west coast of Mexico. I spent an afternoon at a beautiful, remote beach known locally for surfing. The surf wasn’t great that day, but as I sat on my board and enjoyed the warm water and sun, I noticed something in the waves, occasionally popping their heads up to look at me. They were giant sea turtles, sometimes so close I could’ve touched them. I then started to notice the seabirds around me: huge pelicans, frigate birds, gulls, and cormorants all soaring and diving. There were some birds I didn’t recognize right away, but as I looked closer I saw their bright blue feet. Rare and beloved birds I never expected to see in my lifetime, blue-footed boobies! I was so in awe that I gave up trying to catch waves, and just watched the seabirds catch fish and fly around me as the sun lowered towards the horizon.