Local resident Bill Clem and his family were on a drive across the Bald Hills of northern Humboldt County late last month when they came across a remarkable sight: hundreds of Roosevelt elk in a herd migrating across a snow-dappled ridge.

Clem stopped the car and began filming as dozens (hundreds?) of the majestic mammals flowed across hillside toward a lower elevation. In the video, he and his family can ben heard marveling at the spectacle.

“There’s more coming.”

“They’re still comin’.”

Still more comin’!”

“There’s one more!”

“Wow, thats … how many is that?”

Partway through the footage the front of the pack comes to a halt, and then the leading elk reverse course, heading back up the hill.

“They smelled somethin’,” Clem says in the video. “Now they’re turning around and going back.”

It’s unclear from the footage what the elk saw, heard or smelled to convince them to change course. Clem, who allowed the Outpost to reproduce his video, said he was just grateful to have seen it.

“It was a beautiful sight,” he said. “We were lucky to be in right spot at the right time.”