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New Bike... Help Needed

I recently decided to start riding a bike home from work, ended up loving riding and now I go on trails on weekends. My problem is that I need a better bike than what I have now, but I also need it to be within the budget I have for now, so I have been looking for relatively ahem.. affordable bikes and my choices are down to a Gary Fisher Mayo, a Trek Skye a Specialized Women's Myka and possibly a Trek 3700 (all under $500).

The trails we have been going on are not hard rides, but we keep venturing into new ones and keep wanting to find others. I have been to 2 bike shops and well... sales people are sales people... so I don't know who to trust, especially since I am very new to mountain biking.
Help please?
I can't find any info on the Fisher though I like their stuff in general.
Overall, I don't see any huge differences between the other three. I like that the Specialized has good standover height without being a traditional "women's" step through frame. Step through frames are nice to ride for transport, but don't perform as well if you are actually trail riding. The Spec also has 8 speeds and what looks like a better crank.

I'm sure they'd all be fine. Biggest thing is probably going with a shop that treats you well and that you think will take care of you when/if you have any problems. Also, take them for a test ride and don't ignore if one seems to fit better than the others.
I would recommend that you also look at the Cannondale line of Adventure bikes. They have both a feminine variety and a male one but both are pretty much unisex. These are good bikes of the hybrid variety so they will handle a mix of road and light trail use. They are not mountain bikes. You can easily pick up a well appointed Adventure for under $500.00.
Things are getting worse faster than I can lower my standards
I have a Trek 3700. I enjoy it a lot. Before I decided to buy it I went down the the lbs and rode a few different bikes I was looking at to figure out which one felt best to me.

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