Ask any Phoenix hiker where she/hes off to on a Saturday morning, and the answer is inevitably Camelback Mountain or Piestewa Peak. Yaaaaawn. As romantic and adventurous as they may seem to a 500-pound shut-in, most hikers are timid types who prefer the comforting ruts made by their own boots. Too bad for them, cause the spine-hugging National Trail at South Mountain Park rivals, and in many ways surpasses, the overburdened trails of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. While not particularly challenging in the technical sense, the Nationals one bad mutha when tackled from end to end -- and back -- as participants in the National Trail Trek will find out when they set off on the guided 15-mile round trip.
Sat., Jan. 26, 6:30 a.m., 2008