When you first start Animal Crossing: New Horizons you will be constricted to one area of your island. Rivers will be running everywhere, and you won’t be able to cross them at the start of the game. You can get your hands on a tool that will allow you to cross the rivers, and get to new areas.
The Vaulting Pole will make life much easier, allowing you to easily jump across rivers. You will need to do a little bit of work to get it, however. You will need to have unlocked the first stage of the Museum, which requires you to give 5 different species of Fish or Bugs to Tom Nook to make Blathers come to your town.
Tom Nook will ask you to find a place for your Museum, and after setting up a tent for him, Blathers will appear in your town the next day. Head to the newly opened Museum and speak Blathers. He will then offer you two new DIY Recipes which include the Shovel and the Vaulting Pole.
Once you have the Vaulting Pole recipe you simply need to craft it to have one of your own. It requires five Softwood which can be chopped off of trees using a Flimsy Axe. The Wood you get from each tree is random, though, so depending on your luck you could get the item within a minute or two.
Once you have the Vaulting Pole, walk up to any river and equip it, then hit A. You will gracefully vault over the water and can then explore the new area.
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