STEWART, B.C. TRIPS
“Universal Studios has announced they may produce a movie in Stewart entitled The Thing, which will be an up-to-date version of the original movie produced in the 1950’s.” (The Sentinel, April 3, 1981)
Todd Cameron & Steve Crawford
August 6th & 7th, 2003
Todd Cameron and Steve Crawford were the first to go north and locate the Outpost #31 camp and Norwegian helicopter wreckage in the summer of 2003.
The Outpost #31 site is a haul to reach and can be tricky to find once you are up there. The filming site is about a 45min drive north of Stewart up Salmon Glacier Road, past the glacier at approximately kilometer marker 38. If you are planning to go we highly recommend you contact us first. The mining road is no longer maintained in the winter so the site is not accessible a large chunk of the year.
Todd and Steve started planning their trip a full year ahead, contacting locals in the area for advice and assistance on where to seek the location, as well as using the production photos of the set construction from the DVD. They went north in August of 2003, flying first to Vancouver, then to Terrace, and from there driving to Stewart. After checking into the Sealaska Inn their first stop was the Stewart Museum which has some unique photos from the filming, including incredibly rare shots of the FX pieces that were used on location; Fuchs' corpse and the Norwegian-Thing. The ex-mining town of Stewart itself is now a real sleepy 'ghost town' with a population of about 500 people.
First look at Salmon Glacier driving up the mining road from Stewart.
Salmon Glacier Road
Even though the Outpost 31 site is located in Canada, the local geography makes it so that you must first drive into Hyder, Alaska, from Stewart and then back into Canada again. The road up parallels Salmon Glacier. The glacier is only the fifth largest in Canada, but because of the unique road access it is the best glacial viewing in the world.
Breathtaking views of Salmon Glacier heading up the mining road to the site. The road up is hair raising as it is nothing more than a narrow dirt trail carved into the mountainside. There is no barrier to stop any vehicle or person from plummeting off a 1000 foot drop off.
Finding Outpost #31!
First look at the site of Outpost #31! You can see the path leading up from the right onto this rocky knoll in the center that has been leveled with gravel. The camp set was built on the plateau, facing the west. The treeline and road was to the rear of the camp.
Layout of the camp buildings on the site. The camp faced west with the treeline to the rear.
Do you see it? It says Norge or something on the side...
The Norwegian helicopter wreckage!
Todd and Steve standing at the location of Outpost #31!
Todd Cameron with the chopper wreckage!
Aug. 6th, 2003
We hit the jackpot! Not only did we locate the site, but when we got down onto it we found it covered in hundreds of small pieces of burned wood still painted gray. We had found actual remains of the camp set. And the icing on the cake was spotting the wreckage of the Norwegian helicopter just to the north of the site, right where it should be. We spent two days exploring the site and brought the helicopter rotor back with us on the second day as the ultimate prize...we had discovered a prop from the film just sitting there after 21 years. Needless to say that night we went back to the Sealaska Inn and celebrated by getting "Hyderized" at the same bar as the cast & crew did nightly during filming. We even had THE THING playing and the locals told us many stories, and that we were sitting in the same bar stools as John Carpenter and Kurt Russell.
We got "Hyderized"!!!
15 foot helicopter rotor blade; from the dashboard it stuck 3' out the back!
Pieces of the Outpost #31 camp set.
Norwegian helicopter wreckage
BACK INTO THE COLD
On the 2016 Scream Factory Blu-ray of the film there is an 11min documentary of Todd and Steve's 2003 trip. It is dedicated to the memory of Steve Crawford. On the 2019 Turbine Media Blu-ray Todd has a new feature length commentary with detailed info on the trip to filming location in Stewart.
In September 2016 a fan from the UK named Peter Abbott contacted Todd and said he was heading to BC to visit the site. With a bit of planning via Skype chats Peter successfully located the site and brought home his own piece of film history, a section of the rotor. A month later Peter met John Carpenter and had him sign his piece of the chopper.
Peter arrives into Stewart, B.C.!
Peter with the Outpost #31 site in the background.
Peter Abbott with the Norwegian helicopter wreckage!
Sept. 25th, 2016