I complain about fieldwork a lot, but there are some viscerally satisfying things I get to do. Three of my favorites:
1. Thwacking my way through a big thicket of dried-out reeds. Nothing makes you feel like an intrepid explorer like fighting your way through brush that's way over your head and that offers just enough resistance to make it feel like an accomplishment.
2. Compositing sediment samples. Sticking your (gloved) hands into a big bowl of goo and mushing it around, ostensibly to pick out the twigs and rocks, brings out the toddler in everyone.
3. Prying silt or fine sand off augers. This is similar to #2, but with stiffer material that peels off like modelling clay.
When I engage in these activities, a little part of me still says, "whee! I'm getting paid for this!"