Folsom Lake, CA - The three mountian bike riders were about eight miles in along the popular Darrington Trail, riding hard late last Sunday morning.
"We heard some gunshots a little bit further back down the trail and didn't think anything of it," said rider Jason Enyeart, of El Dorado Hills.
The trio continued on into a narrow valley.
"Instantly, we heard two rounds overhead," said rider Chuck Kay, of El Dorado Hills. "The classic, zip-zip, bee sound, right over our heads."
"They jumped off the bikes, I jumped off - I was a little bit, like surprised," said rider Charlie Kropf, also of El Dorado Hills. "I've never had a bullet that close to me."
"Dove in behind the trees and kinda hunkered down. A couple more shots came by," Enyeart said. "They were close. Probably, like I said, five, ten feet overhead and you could hear them hitting the ground about fifteen feet behind us."
Kropf took out his camera and snapped a picture of Chuck and Jason huddled behind a tree.
"Sat there behind a tree trying to figure out what to do. You know, what's our options?" Kropf remembered thinking.
Enyeart yelled not to shoot and a few minutes later they decided to stand up.
"I stood up to see if it was maybe clear to take off and a few more shots came by on either side of us," Enyeart said. "To have 'em whizzing by you that close and then to get up and they start whizzing by again."
"I was trying to determine what the intent was; is he shooting at us or near us? Is he trying to scare us or trying to kill us," Kay remembers thinking.
They again yelled out not to shoot and waited another ten minutes.
"We've got an, I don't know, 50 feet opening that we gotta get out of here through. And just decided to get out," Kropf said.
"On our way back, we warned a few people; hey, I wouldn't go any further. There's someone shooting over the trail," Kay said.
They reported the incident to park rangers.
"The reporting party did the exact right thing. And shelter in place until they felt like it was safe," said California State Parks ranger Richard Preston.
For now, the trail is still open.
"If it continues, we want to hear from the visiting public. They're the ones that're gonna be our eyes and ears out there and we wanna hear back from them if we're still having problems," Preston said.
Preston doubts the gunshots came from marijuana growers. The incident is under investigation.
"Unless they feel there's some threat to their grow, they're gonna stay quiet," Preston points out.
In the meantime, all three riders agree on the best advice.
"Pay attention, be aware of your surrounding and if you hear gunshots, maybe head off the other direction. Even if it is uphill," Enyeart suggests.