Staff photo by Doug Strickland / Ann-Marie Fitzsimmons has scars on her knees from trail running and a raccoon bite on her right hand.

On my upper left thigh, I have a circular scar from when I was 7 and a wasp crawled into my sleeping bag. On my left knee, there are two purple gashes from when I was 22 and tried to ride a bicycle in high heels. My most recent scar streaks across my right hip bone, from just last summer when I was "sliced 'n diced" in an aptly-named rapid on the Ocoee River.

I could go on, like most people do when scars become the topic of conversation.

I began research for this month's "Scar Stories" feature, in which local outdoorspeople share the stories behind their gnarliest scars, with a Facebook post.

"Any of y'all outdoorspeople have a cool scar story?" I asked. Within a day I had received more than 100 responses. Unfortunately, we couldn't include them all in the magazine. But here, I can at least share a few honorable mentions.

"Scar on outer shoulder from being bucked from a yearling cow into a pile of jagged debris and mushy patties," wrote Holland Youngman. "It was nighttime. I was fungus hunting. I was 19."

Michelle Hollingsworth's comment also involved a farm animal.

"Petting a donkey through a fence and sliced my arm open on barb wire," she wrote. "I've pet some real asses in my life. I'm sure it won't be the last one that leaves a scar."

Meanwhile, Ben Bjorkman wrote, "[I] dove into the lake and my shorts fell off. Did the dead man float. My cousin and brother were throwing rocks at my bare ass. I came up for air just in time for a rock to hit me in the lip. No missing teeth, just a few stitches."

We are proud of our scars. They are evidence of the lives we've lived, proof that we can heal, and a reminder that high heels and bicycles don't mix.

Sunny Montgomery

Get Out Digital Editor

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