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Working in Yosemite | ‘Dilla Day and Not The Dry Cleaners

From the dry cleaners to guide life in Yosemite, one man’s tale of tasty ‘dillas.

By Curtis Ivanoff, Lasting Adventures intern

Last summer I worked at the dry cleaners. I felt stuck, frustrated and bored. All I did for the job was stand in one position, scan clothing items then bag them. It was quite dull.

This summer is different. I’m working with Lasting Adventures! And let me tell you, it’s far more exciting than the dry cleaners.

Every day working for Lasting Adventures truly is an adventure, not withstanding one of my favorite days of all…’Dilla Day!

What is ‘Dilla Day? It’s a Lasting Adventures tradition in which volunteers from our staff pick up trash around the valley in exchange for crispy quesadillas (get it, “’Dilla” Day?), cooked by the Lasting Adventures interns alongside the day’s ringleader, veteran staffer Juliet Ramirez.

Lasting Adventures intern Kelsey Zondervan, earning her ‘dillas. Photo: Sophia Barwegen

‘Dilla Day had a special significance for me. Not only was I picking up trash for a good cause (‘dillas!), I was picking up trash in Yosemite National Park! For my work place to go from the dry cleaners to Yosemite feels like a crazy dream come alive.

We arrived in the valley at around noon and I was handed a trash bag and instructed to explore the valley while picking up trash until the group met up again at 5pm.

Five hours to explore Yosemite. Woohoo!

For the first 10 minutes I walked around the lodge picking up trash. Every time I looked up, I saw Yosemite Falls pumping with all its might. It’s a beautiful place to be alive, let alone to be working! After a while I meandered over to Bus Stop 11. While picking up trash around one of the gift shops along the way a woman said to me, “What you’re doing is awesome, thank you!” That gave me so much pride to be working for Lasting Adventures.

After about an hour my trash bag was almost full, so I used the spare time to hike to Mirror Lake. On the trail to get there I helped a struggling butterfly up onto a log. It was a beautiful sight—the butterfly, the lake and El Capitan. Again, I was thankful not to be at the dry cleaners.

A scene worth keeping clean at Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley. Photo: Curtis Ivanoff

I continued the hike and arrived to a bridge that crossed the river, stopping to admire the raging water.

I spent the afternoon admiring the sights of the valley and returned to meet the group at 5, ready for quesadillas!
A ‘Dilla Day well-spent. Photo: Sophia Barwegen

We ended the day high on life and killer ‘dillas with trash bags stuffed and some of the best views in the world. Safe to say for me—if not for ‘Dilla Day alone—interning with Lasting Adventures has already been way more incredible experience than working at the dry cleaners! –Curtis Ivanoff


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