The family of Aubrey Sacco recently traveled to Nepal to join in the search, but the sheer scale of the search area, combined with a shaky government infrastructure, is making the effort difficult.
"They are looking at roughly 80 different trails that she could have taken," Sacco family spokeswoman Aileen Barry told AOL News. "Not only that, but there is supposed to be a big government strike starting on Monday. If that happens, everything will be shut down, and the army and local search teams will no longer be able to help with the search."
Sacco was last heard from on April 20, when she set out on a weeklong hike in the Langtang Valley just south of the Tibetan border.
According to Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide publisher in the world, the area is "relatively isolated" and consists of "picturesque alpine wilderness and affords brilliant views of the mighty peaks of Langtang and Ganesh, as well as a sprawl of endless 6,000m+ summits."
Sacco was familiar with the area and had gone hiking there in the past. "She is no stranger to traveling," Barry said. "She has been traveling her whole life, and she is a very free spirit."
After graduating from the University of Colorado last year, Sacco, a talented artist and photographer, decided to spend some time traveling the world before determining which direction to go in her life. That journey began in December in Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia. At the request of her family, Sacco chronicled her journey on a personal blog titled Glitter the World: Spreading the Sparkle One Country at a Time."
"I am currently on a five-month journey through Sri Lanka and Southern India," reads an introductory post on Sacco's blog. "I will be in Sri Lanka for one month, teaching yoga. ... I will then be spending my remaining time in India."
The last blog entry was made on April 15, just five days before Sacco's disappearance. In it, she wrote, "In India I have come to understand that the most incredible experiences are of something beautiful, magic, unique or rare."
Sacco's life-changing trip was nearing its end. On the day she went missing, she called her parents and updated them on her adventures and her plans to complete the trip in the Langtang Valley.
"She said she was going on April 20 and returning on the 29," Barry said. "She left her luggage, including her cell phone, her computer, her guitar and clothing, at a hotel, rented a backpack and took off."
Barry said authorities have confirmed that Sacco made it to two different check-in stations along the Langtang Valley trail, but whatever happened to her after that remains a mystery.
"Not long after she set out on the trail, there was a strike with dangerous protests," Barry said. "There were no phones, no transportation and no way for her to get back in touch with her parents. We think she turned around and went back up to the trail, but nobody has heard from her. We don't know if she got lost or if somebody kidnapped her. There are really no answers."
When Sacco failed to make contact with her family by May 4, it contacted the U.S. Embassy in Nepal and requested assistance. In response, the embassy began working with the Nepal government, the tourism board and local police. Several search parties were dispatched to the area, but no sign of Sacco was found.
Concerns for her safety were heightened on May 15, when she failed to make her return flight back to the U.S. In response, her father, Paul Sacco, along with her brother Crofton and Barry's nephew, Dinesh Shakya, an expert on Langtang National Park, decided to fly to Nepal to help in the search.
"We feel we've done as much as we can from our little control center at our home, and now we feel it's important to be on the ground and actually be talking with the people who are coordinating the search," Paul Sacco said in a May 17 interview with CBS4denver.com.
According to Barry, the men landed in Nepal on Wednesday, where they were met by representatives of Nepal's U.S. Embassy.
"They called last night to give us an update," Barry said. "They said the Nepalese Army has search crews with dogs out on the trails, and U.N. advisers have also joined that team. They are supposed to be getting helicopters up for the search today."
Barry said concerns over another possible strike have led the Saccos to contact outside resources. As a result, several search and recovery teams from all over the world are heading to Nepal to assist in the search.
"We want to be prepared, because this next strike is supposed to bring some heavy-duty clashes," Barry said.
Meanwhile, the Saccos are asking anyone who can assist in the search to contact them by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I pray to God she is found safe," Barry said. "Her thing is to spread glitter around the world, and I want her to continue doing that."