Tony, I appreciate the sentiment but I would not consider my advice as expert, more like friendly words of encouragement. I'm just a dood with an NEX-5N who's excited about it. You and I should go on a hike sometime in the near future, I'll let you carry and use the NEX for a day to check it out.
I readily admit that my trip photos are not amazing, and I'm no landscape photographer. I am highly critical of my photographic gear though and I have worked out an SLR kit that I've grown very fond of using over the years (mostly for family photo journalism, friends, events, etc...) for photographing people, which is my forte I suppose. On hiking trips I either lug the SLR or settle on the P&S (same one that you have by coincidence), which is "ok" but completely uninspiring to use.
I don't disagree with the others that suggest high end P&S cameras can produce some nice results. It's true that making a great photo is all about the photographer, the light, and the subject. Sure, some great photos have been made with all sorts of cameras. Miroslav Tichy even makes his cameras from random bits of trash... that's pretty low-tech :) Sometimes I process grain, noise, vignetting, desaturation, or off-tone hues (in other words, "defects") into my photos to enhance the mood. I've even done some pinhole photography with my 5D; that's one expensive pinhole camera! Having the freedom to do work with photos this way is nice. I own several cameras, film and digital, and most of my favorite photos could have been taking with one or more of them, but I might not have got the shot due to having to adjust to the conditions or limitations of the gear. In some cases I might not have even attempted the shot due to lack of confidence. The gear is not the end-all-be-all, but it can inspire confidence and excitement and those are good things for a photographer to have (regardless of the technical merits of the gear). I would say HYOH, shoot with what inspires you, use what you enjoy, and what you have fun with. If the gear inspires you to learn more about photography, that's an added bonus, if not, don't sweat it.
I think in the context of the thread, which was originally an extension of a conversation several of us were recently having about the NEX and lenses, it's gone a little off topic, but still a good conversation about the NEX which I hope keeps going here.
From those of us here who are NEX users there seems to be a concurrence that the 18-55 kit is a good all-around lens for hiking/backpacking, no? I think this makes for a really simple setup, especially by using the camera in Auto or Aperture Priority (which is a good step towards learning a little more but still in realm of simple to use).
I'm guessing nobody here is using this combo, but Voigtlander makes an ultrawide 12mm lens (Heliar 12mm f5.6) that is fairly compact and gives a true "ultrawide" perspective. Here's a photo of it mounted to the NEX. Here are some photo samples from the combo. I think this would be a sweet lens to have as a companion to the 18-55; although not an inexpensive lens at $550 (without adapter)... well, depending on your perspective this could be also bargain :)
One thing to note about the NEX and non-Sony lenses is anything below 28mm *may* cause some strange color shift at the edges of the image. Some lenses exhibit this, some do not. In addition to that the effect is mitigated with each iteration of the camera (NEX3 being the worst, 5N showing much lesser effect). Just food for thought.
This is a spreadsheet that I started before I bought my NEX. I'm very interested in ALT lenses, so this may not be all that interesting to others but, none the less. This is just a start. Most of these lenses are rangefinder lenses, I think I'll eventually remove the SLR lenses as the idea with the NEX is keeping it small and light.
So do any of the other NEX users posting here have alternate lenses for your camera? I know a few have been mentioned, can we get a roll call?