Option B: Road Bike
Road bikes can go anywhere. There's nothing you can do on a cross bike that can't be done on a road bike but there are a couple of limiting factors. First is tire clearance. If you run your road bike for Hopper #1 use the biggest tire that will fit, and put on new ones. Not sort of new, or a kinda new but brand spankin' new. Or don't and just ride more carefully and be prepared to fix flats. No matter cross or road I would bring two tube, tube patches, and tire boots in case of a side wall blow out. Also, if you are a CO2 person this is a ride where you want to have a frame pump. If not for you then for your friends who are bound to forget theirs. Specialized makes a great selection of tires. Last year I road All Condition Elite 25 but I'd suggest something larger. The All Condition Armadillo comes in a 28c and is puncture resistant. If you have crazy clearance or want tire that is mostly road with some side traction try the Burough CX Pro.
Second: Put on a climbing gear. If you have anything stiffer that a 36x28 you'll be hurting. Whatever you ride you'll have fun and if you get passed by your buddy on a cross bike you can always pick up one of these