LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Search and rescue crews combed a rugged area of Bandelier National Monument early Saturday before finding a missing hiker from Carrollton who had traveled to northern New Mexico to hunt for the buried treasure of a Santa Fe antiquities dealer.

Medical personnel were called to the monument, but Bandelier spokeswoman Claudia Brookshire said early reports from the searchers indicated the woman appeared to be OK after spending a frigid night outdoors.

"It's been in the 30s at night, so that's definitely a concern," Brookshire said.

Dispatchers had received a call Friday from a man in Texas who reported that his girlfriend was missing.

The woman, whose name was not immediately released, arrived at the monument Thursday to hike to the Upper Falls. She called her boyfriend to let him know she would return the next day. He called authorities after not hearing from her.

Members of the New Mexico Search and Rescue team and the Los Alamos Police Department set out to search the area along the Rio Grande near the Falls Trail and in the backcountry. They thought she headed east down the trail and away from the monument's headquarters.

The trail from the Upper Falls to the river crosses rough terrain, having been washed out by a flash flood in 2011.

Brookshire said the young woman came to New Mexico after being inspired by an interview with antiquities dealer, author and former art gallery owner Forrest Fenn that was aired last week on NBC's "Today Show."

Fenn sparked the treasure hunt in 2011 when he released his book, "The Thrill of the Chase," which features clues that could lead readers to the $2 million treasure he buried three years ago in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

Buried in an old bronze lockbox, the booty includes pieces of gold, a 17th century Spanish emerald ring, a ruby-studded bracelet, small diamonds and other items.

The missing woman's boyfriend told authorities she was attempting to find the treasure.

The search involved dog teams, technical rescue experts and three aircraft.

A blast of winter weather hit parts of northern New Mexico on Friday and the higher terrain was expected to get another inch or two of snow by the end of Saturday. However, Brookshire said the storm missed much of the monument, leaving behind only the chilly temperatures.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/2014/08/18/14049132/