10/31/2014 04:50 EDT | Updated 12/31/2014 05:59 EST

Into the wild: Yellowknife RCMP believe missing Japanese tourist in bush

YELLOWKNIFE - RCMP suspect a missing Japanese tourist may be trekking in the wilderness north of Yellowknife.

Atsumi Yoshikubo was last spotted Oct. 22 walking along a highway outside the city. Staff at a Yellowknife hotel reported the 45-year-old missing Monday after she failed to check out of her room the day before.

Mounties say they found no evidence of foul play and her room at the Explorer Hotel had been left in a state suggesting she intended to return.

Officers and civilian volunteers, with the help of a helicopter and dogs, have so far searched remote tourist attractions along the highway and other hiking areas.

On Friday, RCMP announced they were expanding the search area to the north.

"The investigation to date supports that she may be travelling in the wilderness," said Const. Elenore Sturko.

She said she couldn't reveal why officers believe Yoshikubo is travelling through the bush, but added that Mounties hope to find her alive.

"We hope to be able to locate Atsumi and that she is safe and in good health."

Temperatures in recent days have hovered around 0 C and there's been snow.

Police are planning to search the wilderness with an airplane equipped with infrared technology that can detect body heat, Sturko said.

Yoshikubo is described as five-foot-two with long black hair and brown eyes. She weighs about 100 pounds. She had been wearing a pink coat, pink hat, black pants and white shoes.