Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
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Swapping any components from a early 00's frame to a 2014 frame will be hard, the only parts that haven't change spec significantly are the rear derailleur thread size and the pedals, just about every other part on you GF will need to be replaced to fit a 2014 bike as they won't fit.
For your current bike, not sure where you paid $1800 for it, BITD it was a mid level bike, Bikepedia list the 2003 (earliest spec'd with Manitou forks)model as $819 2003 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo - BikePedia
looking at the current Trek range, a comparable bike would probably be a 4300, although whatever you get, a lot of new parts will be needed.
For gear, Shimano Acera is good, Deore is a lot better & a different speed, Deore LX is long gone for MTB's and is exclusively touring/trekking now, it was replaced by SLX about 10 years ago.
If you are looking at changing wheel size, would avoid 29er's they are on their way out just like 26", 650B/27.5 is where it's at now.