I think you're in a cool place- starting out backpacking in an open-minded fashion. Too often beginners carry FAR too much weight but you're already starting to think ahead.
A good plan is to do some reading. Lighten Up! by Don Ladigan is the first book I recommend to beginners. I love this book!
Next, at REI only look at the lightest options. That's a great place but they're pretty traditional (read- heavy). But they're getting better- just be careful that you aren't swayed into heavy gear that you might regret buying later.
Now, I'm going to offer a different take on some gear choices. I recommend that you get a pack that can handle a big volume but shrink down with smaller loads. That way you're set should you venture into the bulky gear needed for winter trips (or the food of longer adventures). Next, get a pack with a suspension that will handle your current load, but just barely. That way when things lighten up (and they will, especially if you're looking here), you won't need to ditch your brand-new pack.
Therefore, I'd skip the 50 pound suspension of the Granite Gear packs and go for the Golite Pinnacle http://www.golite.com/product/productdetail.aspx?p=PA5252&s=1 This pack is reasonably priced, can handle big or small loads, and has great organizational features. I'm reviewing it right now and it is sweet. It can easily handle 30-35 pounds which is probably the zone you're currently in (but hopefully not for too long).
Another brilliant pack is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus. It has a frame that can handle heavy loads but you can remove it on you lighter trips. The organizational pockets are brilliant and the fabric is plenty burly. I've used a standard Mariposa for years and it is just marvelous. http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/Mariposa-Plus.html With this pack, your sleeping pad slips into a pocket to provide the cushion against your back. You'll need a 3/4 thermarest, a 3/4 or full air pad (like a Big Agnes AirCore insulated), or short foam pad fits the bill here. So cool, this pack. Ula Equipment is also great stuff.
Next, I agree with some thoughts about bags. Get a good down bag that's no more than 2 pounds. I've always been impressed with the value of the REI Sub Kilo at $240. http://www.rei.com/product/731678 The bag will be one of your most expensive items but a bag like this gets you into the lightweight range without braking the bank. Full zip adds versatility. Later on you might get a lighter summer bag (or quilt) but a 20 deg. bag is your best all-rounder.
Also, get a good oversized silnylon stuff sack (actually several)- you'll want to be carful to keep that down bag dry. And never use a compression sack- these break down the down far too quickly. I leave mine in large sacks.
For a stove, alcohol is great. If you go this route, the Trail Designs Caldera is a sweet gig. More versatile is a canister stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket- it's heavier but will get you into cold temps a bit more easily.
For a pot, a ti kettle is all you need if you're boiling water for 2, such as with pasta meals or dehydrated dinners. A MSR Ti Kettle is a good deal here (Evernew makes another cool one).
Last, look hard at what you're bringing. I haven't used a filter in several years. Katadyn Micropur tablets are really easy to use- Aqua Mira is a tad more complicated but cheaper. Both are about a pound lighter than a filter and will never clog.
Also, skip the ground tarp. The tent will be fine without it and you'll save more weight. SAve the ground sheet for car camping.
Now, I mean all of my gear choices to be starting points. These aren't the end-all, just ideas off the top of my head. Keep your open mind, get what works for you, and best of all, have a great adventure!
Also, I've spent many nights in a wickiup, snow cave, etc. I love digging in like that. While you're getting into backpacking, read Tom Brown's Guide to Wilderness Survival. That's a GREAT book and the ideas there can be incorporated into some awesome experiences once you've got the basic deal down.
Really, that "getting closer to nature" idea is what many of us insano-lightweight people are shooting for. Sleeping under a tarp and carrying the lightest essentials is an incredible feeling of freedom and it allows for some incredible trips.
Have a great time! And welcome to BPL!