I got to tag along on a trip for students in the summer research program at my university because I've been spending the past week and a half training two of them in the lab. The $27 I paid for a half of a canoe rental may have been the best use of money in my entire life. It's really hard to feel lousy about yourself and your life after paddling 11.5 miles and doing some hiking in the Ozarks on a gorgeous day. To think I briefly considered not going because of the cost!
It wasn't a cheap day, but it wasn't vastly expensive either. Since two of the people who rode in my car chipped in for gas, that didn't cost me as much as I'd feared. PB&J sandwiches and a bag of dried cranberries made for cheap meals, although I did end up with a backpack full of soggy peanut butter, jelly, and bread puree when the last of the sandwiches got soaked after I altered my carefully planned packing scheme to make room for my friend's crackers.
There were a few additional incidental costs. The strap to keep my glasses in place when we capsized was overpriced but necessary. Since I'm ridiculously pale and freckle and burn but never develop a tan, I've concluded that really effective sunscreen is worth the extra cost to avoid pain now and cancer later, but you go through the stuff pretty quickly if you actually use the recommended amount and reapply often. I may have looked like a dork wearing a tankini top and running shorts for swimming plus a t-shirt, a lightweight sun-resistant jacket I borrowed from my mother, and a wide brimmed hat while canoeing when every other girl there was wearing a bikini, but I should be used to that by now.
A friend bought me dinner when we finally made it back to town at 11 pm, and we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning talking, a rare treat. Afterward, I crashed at my brother's apartment, very handy since he was out of town and I was far too tired to drive safely to my parents' house. It was a good day, and I could use more of those.