Urban Explorations: Sochacki Park

My frequent trips to visit my father at the nursing home take me across 36th Avenue North in Robbinsdale, MN.  On each pass, I have noticed a sign pointing to Sochaki Park (pronounced: so-hockey) and have wanted to investigate the site.  Today I made it the destination of my morning walk.  Unlike South Halifax Park, on the east side of the railroad tracks that run through Robbinsdale, which is geared more to the playground set, Sochacki Park is more for those seeking a woodsy setting.  The park offers hiking, biking and access to the western side of Grimes Pond. A meandering internal trail system connects to Mary Hills Park in Golden Valley.  The park is a wooded gem situated in an urban setting with much wildlife.
As I wandered through a small portion of the park, I couldn’t help noticing all the edible plants.  If you were lost in the park, you would be able to survive for awhile if you knew your wild plants.  And, if you had your cat with you, (no, not to eat!), it would enjoy the abundant catnip.  I spotted stinging nettle, plantain, burdock, wood sorrel, lambs quarter, raspberry, monkey tails (the twisty ends of grape vines) and cattails.  The plantain has medicinal properties: if chewed and applied to an itchy bug bite as a poultice, it will relieve the itch.
WARNING: be sure you know your plants before ingesting any wild plant.  Also, be aware of whether the area is sprayed with chemicals or exposed to excess pollution.  There were plants there you would want to avoid, one being poison ivy.  The burdock is something of a mixed blessing.  The root is very healthy, but the burrs are troublesome, especially if you own a pet that gets covered in them.
I was perturbed by the sight of a oily looking water discharge, not sure where it was coming from.  I was also witness to a couple of interesting insect events.  One involved a burdock that was under attack by very small bugs, and the other was an ant colony in motion.

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