AUBURN — The story goes that a young man heard yapping on the side of a cliff in Andover and looked up to find wolf pups left on a ledge by their mother.

The man wanted one of those pups. So up he climbed. And down he fell, to disaster.

That’s where the tale takes an unlikely turn: “They washed the brains, sewed it back in and sent him home,” said author Steve Pinkham. “The last they heard he joined the Navy and drowned at sea. It’s a wonderful story.”

Moody Mountain by the Appalachian Trail in Andover is supposed to be named in that young man’s honor.

Pinkham shared parts of his book “The Mountains of Maine” at the Auburn Public Library on Thursday night. He said research took eight years and traveling as far as the Library of Congress. There was plenty of easy-to-find information on Mt. Katahdin and Acadia National Park, he said. “When you went beyond that, there wasn’t much.”

The rest — places like Boil Mountain and Potato Nubble around the Rangeley Lakes region, and Joe McKeen Hill and Mount Tire’m around Oxford Hills — took some digging. His book, published by Down East, includes short write-ups on hundreds of mountains and hills and pictures gathered from old postcards.

He counted eight Black Mountains, seven Hedgehog Mountains and six Sugarloafs.

“There are 26 Oak Hills,” he said.

Pinkham discovered some were named after the famous (Byron Notch after Lord Byron, the poet) and some less so (Jim Whyte Ledge, after an 1800s drug smuggler).

Along the way, Pinkham developed a list of superlatives. He calls Mars Hill “Maine’s most abused mountain,” with TV, cell phone and wind towers. Saddleback, he said, is the state’s most expensive mountain: Its owner paid $17 million so the top wouldn’t be developed.

Beehive Mountain in Acadia earns honors as most-climbed in Maine.

“I’d climb it every day if I could, it’s so pretty,” he said.

Pinkham grew up in Lexington Township, near Kingfield, and now lives in Quincy, Mass. He’s been up the 100 highest mountains in New England.

Ten people turned out to listen and watch the 90-minute slide show, several asking questions.

“I’ve hiked a few of them that he talked about, so it was interesting seeing a few of the old friends,” said librarian Sharon Hawkes.

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