Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve
Jessica Burk was found safe after she went missing inside Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve in Kentucky. Google Maps

A missing hiker was found alive Friday after disappearing in the Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve in Kentucky. Jessica Burk, 40, went missing Wednesday after entering the woods with her boyfriend.

The pair got separated at around 2:15 p.m. inside the preserve, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Burk’s boyfriend searched for her for five hours before notifying police. Authorities believed from the beginning it was merely a missing persons case and was not criminal.

Authorities announced Burk was found alive and well Friday morning. The woman said she found a canteen that had water in it and rationed the water, according to WLEX-TV. She reportedly had no food while she was lost in the preserve.

Burk said she survived by spending the nights in a treehouse or deer stand, WLEX reported. She made her way out of the woods after discovered a road Friday morning and continued on to find the nearby command center.

Burk being found alive was a welcome surprise for authorities. Search and rescue crews had been looking for her for some time to no avail. Police said Thursday they believed it was no longer a search effort and considered it a recovery mission due to the amount of time that had passed and the extremely cold temperatures, according to WLEX. Authorities also said they were concerned because she had previously suffered a brain injury, WKYT-TV reported.

The Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve spans some 900 acres in Kentucky’s Jessamine and Garrard Counties.