Dillon Beach to Tomales Bay State Park (Heart’s Desire Beach).

July 10, Marin County
Dillon Beach to Tomales Bay State Park (Heart’s Desire Beach). 11 miles

The wind that so tired us the day before abated during the night, but left its comrade Mr. Fog on duty when we awoke at our customary 6 AM. At 8 AM, camp had been broken, and we had walked the ½ mile or so to the dock area of Lawson’s Landing. Lawson’s Landing is a private holding with what looks to be permanent trailer spaces as well as camping and RV locations. It is definitely a private camp for which there is an entrance fee. On the other hand, the management was kind enough to “comp” us a boat ride across the mouth of Tomales Bay; the pilot was Mike Lawson.

We arrived on the Point Reyes Peninsula at Blue Gum Beach, found the trail off the beach and to the Tomales Point Trail, took a left and walked in the thick fog and moderate winds to Pierce Ranch at the end of the roadway. This area is the home of a large herd of Tule Elk, and on a clear day, we might have seen many. In the 4 miles or so of elk country, we saw one small band in the fog, a bull with a small harem.

Being forced to walk this stretch of the coast in such thick fog was really unfortunate, as on a clear day the views of the ocean as well as those of Tomales Bay and the golden hills beyond to the East are spectacular.

A sign at Pierce Ranch quoting an 1878 newspaper read, “The place has more the appearance of a village than of a single home. The place may well be called Pierceville.” Now being restored, it is quite a little village. Bought in 1858 by Solomon Pierce, its 2,200 acres for years was a creamery and dairy. In addition to the 12,000 square-foot dairy barn was the dairy building itself, a creamery, implement shed, schoolhouse, carpentry shop, main house, bunk house and assorted outbuildings.

As we were leaving, a van pulled up entitled “Kwon’s Chinese Tour Company”. Four patrons, a family I would think, emerged out of the van and into the foggy cold. The driver asked if we had seen any elk. Saying that we had, but about a mile away, the four soon returned to the safe harbor of their warm van and were gone.

Three  miles or so south of Pierce Ranch, we found Sue Baty in the cold fog at the edge of the road. Sue is a long time Coastwalk backer and hike leader. With Sue we left the highway and walked near the crest of the ridge of Point Reyes. We then entered Tomales Bay State Park and descended to Indian Beach. By now, the weather was sunny and we were on the lee side of the ridge. Off came the jackets as we walked along Indian Beach and over a small bluff to our destination at Hearts Desire Beach. This golden-sand beach is a real jewel. The shallow beach slope and lack of any significant wave action makes it an ideal place to bring small children. For years, Coastwalk has had an excellent relationship with the staff of Tomales Bay State Park and has assisted in trail maintenance and trail building. [Jon Breyfogle; photos, Linda Hanes. Right photo: Diana Savage (l) and Sue Baty (r)]