Goodbye New Brunswick, hello Nova Scotia! It’s been a long, long journey across North America but all that remains now is a quick hop past the Cumberland Basin and Cobequid Bay then over the hill to Halifax: including this one, that’s just five stages heading south east then south. This one’s almost as flat as a pancake to fourteen miles but then 733 has a nasty card to play that will leave its mark on your legs and your resolve: be ready for it and bring your A game to the party.
The rollout is flat, (almost) straight and south east as Highway 2 makes its way through Sackville Waterfowl Park (with lakes north and south of the road) before crossing the Tantramar River after two miles. The road then runs straight and north of a marshy area of land that’s bounded by the Aulac River on a right hander at four miles. That’s followed by a short up and down as the highway snakes between Mount Whatley on the left (east) and Aulac on the right (west). Shortly after that, at seven miles, is the state border crossing where the Missiguash River runs under the road in the middle of Tantramar Marsh.
Once over the border, the communities come thick and fast. Fort Lawrence is first up at eight miles where ATW trades Highway 2 for Highway 104: H2 heads south for Parrsboro on the coast at the Minas Basin after Fort Lawrence whereas Highway 104 heads for Truro en route to Halifax. Fort Lawrence is followed by Amherst at ten miles and Brookdale at fourteen miles: Brookdale has a lot going for it: the road swings left then right at Blair Lake on approach to the town before crossing the Nappan River as the road straightens out from the right hander. Away from the river, the road climbs increasingly steeply on a slog of a climb to the highest point on the stage at Salem after eighteen miles. That’s the climb that will burn your legs.
Off the summit, the highway crosses Styles Brook after nineteen miles and Stanley Brook a mile later before arriving at Stewarts Brook at twenty one miles, just before the finish. As always with water crossings, the gradient rises on the other side and that guarantees a short sharp climb to the finish high up on the hill at the Cumberland Trails Track 104.
Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres
Ascent: 902 feet / 275 metres
RGT Magic Road: 3607C2GzR6Id
Max elevation: 347 ft
Min elevation: -122 ft
Total climbing: 900 ft
Total descent: -675 ft